Performing Revolution: Women's artistic agency and democratization in Portugal (1974-79)

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The 25 April 1974 Revolution in Portugal overthrew the longest dictatorship in Western Europe and allowed new socio-political actors to express themselves freely. In this period, performance art became instrumental in redefining the presence of women in the public and political space. This article confronts ideological and legislative definitions of woman in Portugal from the dictatorship to the new democratic regime with the creative interventions of women artists through performance art in the years following the revolution. However, in the post-revolutionary Portugal gender discrimination and violence, women’s rights and the commodification of the female body, which the feminist movements problematized, were dissociated from artistic intervention. By contextualising women’s performative actions in the moment they were created, this article highlights their contribution not only for socio-political debate and configuration of democratic aspirations, but also for reviewing the impact of revolutions in a wider social, cultural and political perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-77
Number of pages16
JournalPortuguese Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2022


  • Portuguese revolution
  • Women's rights
  • Democracy
  • Performance art
  • Women's creativity


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