Almada Negreiros murals in the Maritime Stations open to the public in February

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The Interpretive Center of Lisbon’s Maritime Stations will open to the public in February 2025, making the 14 restored Almada Negreiros panels accessible to the entire population, turning it into a cultural hub linking Alcântara to Belém.

The Interpretive Center “Almada’s Murals in the Maritime Stations” was presented today in Lisbon by the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Miguel Pinto Luz, and by the promoters of the project, the Lisbon Port Administration, the Lisbon City Council and the Lisbon Tourism Association.

Almada Negreiros’ panels are the largest group of Portuguese mural paintings of the 20th century and the ultimate expression of Portuguese modernism, as the minister pointed out.

Located at Gare Marítima de Alcântara, this interpretive center will allow all citizens and tourists to enjoy these works of art, while at the same time boosting knowledge of them, especially among schoolchildren.

Throughout the nine rooms on the first floor, extensive information will be available on Almada Negreiros’ murals – which can be visited at the Alcântara Maritime Station (eight panels), and at the Rocha do Conde de Óbidos Maritime Station (six) – but also on the history of the construction of maritime stations and their historical and social role.

For Miguel Pinto Luz, the possibility of Lisbon residents and all those who visit the city having access to these “magnificent” works is something “absolutely incomparable to anything else that has been done”.

“As Minister for Infrastructure, it’s great to see that the Port of Lisbon no longer has its back turned to the city. The port of Lisbon today has to have a symbiotic relationship with the city, and the people of Lisbon have to have access to this, it can’t be enclosed within four walls and, therefore, Almada [Negreiros] has to be represented in this new interpretive center, to give all the people of Lisbon access to what the new port of Lisbon is going to be, a port that is not just containers, not just economic activity, but also facing the River Tagus,” he said, speaking to journalists.

This project includes not only the restoration of the murals themselves, but also the creation of the entire interpretive center, “a museum space that also represents what port activity was like in the 1940s,” added the minister.

In the future interpretive center, visitors will be able to learn about the context of the construction and decoration of the Navigation Terminals, the relationship between the architect Pardal Monteiro, author of the buildings, and the artist Almada Negreiros, Almada Negreiros’ studies for the mural paintings in the Maritime Stations and the different political and historical moments that crossed the operation of the Stations, including World War II, emigration, departures for the Colonial War and the decolonization process with the return of the Portuguese from the former colonies.

The context in which the works were commissioned from the artist will also be explained, as will the controversy generated at the time with the final result, which was far removed from the dictatorship’s propaganda objectives.

As the Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, pointed out, “what is portrayed there is the humble Lisbon that Almada wanted to show, but which the Estado Novo wanted to hide: the life of the quays, the true reality of Lisbon is there. This is a work by the people of Lisbon”

Almada Negreiros’ artistic presence in the city of Lisbon will also be on display, namely the spaces where you can find his other works, as well as his documentation on the Maritime Stations, statements, interviews, notes, photographs and reproductions of works and documents.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony, Carlos Moedas called this “a historic and important day for Lisbon, because it is this link between culture and tourism”.

“We’re here inaugurating this Almada Negreiros interpretive center, with 3.5 million coming from tourists and I think it’s very important at a time when we sometimes see some friction being created in relation to a sector as important to the economy as tourism, that tourism contributes to the people of Lisbon.”

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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