Portuguese women were finally able to vote in the legislative elections of 1969 – provided they knew how to read and write – but the limitations of their rights, until one year after April 25, 1974, could not leave the country without the consent of the husbands, open bank account or take contraceptives.
The Carnation Revolution encouraged the return of many artists to Portugal, after having self-exiled themselves in the main European art centers, London and Paris.
Ana Hatherly was part of this group and, on her return to the country, documents the Revolution, ripping off the posters of the facades of the streets of Lisbon, and with a strong gesture of destruction, also advocates an urgent cut with a dictatorial past.
Ana Vieira's "environments" – the first installation creations of a female artist in Portugal – or the photography work in series by Helena Almeida, as well as the space poetry of Salette Tavares appeared in the 1970s, all of them innovative works for the time, in transitional years in the country.
The production of Clara Menéres' sculpture in solid and neon stone, of a conceptual character, marks the decade of 1980, in return to the monumentality of the sculptural tradition.
Video and photography have become the means of production that are also closer to women artists since the 1990s, although they also dedicate themselves to painting, sculpture and drawing.
Susanne Themlitz, Cecilia Costa, Susana Gaudêncio or even Ângela Ferreira, a Mozambican artist who works on the impact of colonialism and postcolonialism on contemporary society, convey this diversity that marks the first decades of the 21st century.
The Gulbenkian show traces through the works of women artists, but also through the realities of the last century that these works reflect.