Past Guests

Maria Manuela Restivo

profile picture Restivo
© Rossana Mendes Fonseca

I am an anthropologist and curator working in the field of Portuguese folk arts/vernacular crafts. I recently finished my PhD in Heritage Studies/ Art History (2017-2022) at the University of Porto, with the support of the Science and Technology Foundation (FCT). My research was focused on the social construction of Portuguese folk art, from the end of the 19th century until the present. Crossing ethnographic fieldwork with archival research, my aim was to map the main actors, networks and narratives underlying the production, performance and circulation of folk arts in Portugal. Having identified different and sometimes contradictory narratives operating in the field of Portuguese folk arts over time, I detected an underlying moral dimension surrounding these objects in different periods, mobilized by actors and institutions in specific circumstances.

Parallel to this research, I developed texts and exhibitions focused on individual (folk) artists, trying to insert their names and work in canonical Portuguese art history.

Recently I’m interested in the ways contemporary artists are dealing with Portuguese rural and folk heritage. Although it was a subject largely absent from Portuguese contemporary art, over the last years a younger generation is addressing rurality in their works. Can this help us to address and reinterpret rural heritage and its material culture?