Maria Lamas

Learn about the artist's universe through a text accompanied by a selection of works from the exhibition “All I want – Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020”

By Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes

The Women of My CountryOriginal Source: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, H.G. 7832 A, S.C. 7557 A

In the post-war era, Maria Lamas, a writer, journalist, feminist activist and political opponent of the dictatorial regime in Portugal, published As Mulheres do Meu País [The Women of My Country], an extensive collection of photographs that together painted a detailed portrait of practices, activities and living conditions of working Portuguese women.

The Women of My CountryOriginal Source: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, H.G. 7832 A, S.C. 7557 A

The portraits were arranged into ten general topics – the peasant women, the working women, the seaside woman, the riverside women, the common woman and her various occupations, the maids and professionals, the ones who work in the cottage industries, the housewives, the intellectual and the artist. These included Lamas’ own photographs, taken the length of Portugal, as well as pictures from elsewhere by other photographers, interspersed with narrative text that provided a critical reflection on the images.

The Women of My CountryOriginal Source: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, H.G. 7832 A, S.C. 7557 A

The Women of My Country, 1948-1950
Book; text: Maria Lamas, drawings: Fernando Carlos, Actuális, Lisbon [1948-50], 471 pp., 32 cm
Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, H.G. 7832 A, S.C. 7557 A

The Women of My CountryOriginal Source: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, H.G. 7832 A, S.C. 7557 A

The Women of My CountryOriginal Source: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, H.G. 7832 A, S.C. 7557 A

The Women of My CountryOriginal Source: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, H.G. 7832 A, S.C. 7557 A

Described by Lamas as an “expression of sororal solidarity with the women of my country”, As Mulheres do Meu País was published in instalments between May 1948 and April 1950 in direct response to the policy to disband the National Council of Portuguese Women. Lamas herself had previously chaired this historic organisation, which had taken a key role in standing up for women in Portugal amid the struggles of the international feminist movement.

The Women of My CountryOriginal Source: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, H.G. 7832 A, S.C. 7557 A

This unique ideological document was interpreted as a work of counterpower in a repressed country awash with fascist policies, macho moral standards, widespread female illiteracy and picturesque iconography based on folklore.

The Women of My CountryOriginal Source: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, H.G. 7832 A, S.C. 7557 A

The Women of My CountryOriginal Source: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, H.G. 7832 A, S.C. 7557 A

The Women of My CountryOriginal Source: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, H.G. 7832 A, S.C. 7557 A

Credits: Story

Book presented at the exhibition All I want: Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020, in its first moment at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, within the scope of the cultural program that takes place in parallel to the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021.

Exhibition organized by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in co-production with the Center of Contemporary Creation Olivier Debré, Tours, and with the collaboration of the Plano Nacional das Artes (Portugal).

Curators:
Helena de Freitas and Bruno Marchand


Text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes
Selection of online resources Maria de Brito Matias


Find out more about the work of Maria Lamas and others artists presented in the context of this exhibition:
All I want: Collective Memories

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
All I Want
Over 240 artworks by more than 40 women: Explore the new exhibition celebrating Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020
View theme
Google apps