A Living Language of Hope

Like the language we speak, Culture distinguishes us. Like the language we speak, it is a way of expression, that is meant to be plural. Like the language we speak, our Culture belongs to all of us, belongs to a Portuguese-speaking world — the Lusophony around us —, that must reflect its broadness and intersectionality. Inevitably, it is also through Culture that we express ourselves, and so it is often an act of resistance and hope. An act of resistance to sadness and the urge of giving up, or, so many times, an act of political resistance. But also, an act of hope: hope in the collective, in change and love. After more than a year of resistance and hope, we asked those who create as a way of life to tell us how Culture can be a vehicle of hope. Twelve people from five different creative fields — Cinema, Theatre, Music, Literature, and the Fine Arts — accepted the challenge. Reflecting the cultural landscape and its representatives, the answers were varied, personal and unique. After all, only a Culture in which all voices are included can be a beacon of hope.

By Lígia Gonçalves


Nádia Yracema,
Actress and co-creator of Aurora Negra (with Isabél Zuaa and Cleo Diára)

«“An artist’s duty is to reflect the times” – Nina Simone

I view artistic creation as an empowered and constructive dialogue. Between society and what I create. There is always the hope of making this connection possible. It is always an invitation to reflect on what is and is not acceptable. Theatre as a house that transforms and allows itself to be transformed, trying at every moment to rescue the humanity that we often seem to lack, forces us to stop and listen. And it is in that place of listening that hope, and change, can come about.»

Daniel Gorjão,
Stage Director and Cultural Programmer

«Culture carries hope within and through itself. It is culture that allows us to identify, to belong and to recognize the other, just by looking at ourselves. Culture is also that which educates the collective, enables us to prosper and leads us to dream higher. Culture allows us to demand, experience, fight and grow. Culture, in the extent of access that is given to it, is the guarantor of a better society, but also its biggest promise. For all these reasons, culture is an eternal symbol of hope.»


João Santana,
Line Producer

«Culture is the reflection of life as it can be, without limitations of existence, time or place. It is an affirmation of all that we were, what we are, what we are not and what we can be. It is a reminder that we are not alone, and how hopeful it is to know we can choose any path.»

Victória Guerra,

«Culture is our identity, it is a way to know ourselves and others, it is the tool that enables our critical sense and our growth as a community and as a society. It is through it that we define, express and respect ourselves and, above all, it is through it that we believe in a world that is always just around the corner. It is up to us to walk the path and to not give up on the construction of our common existence.»

Welket Bungué,

«While not intrinsically nationalistic or traditionalist, culture can in fact weave a sense of hope and self-empowerment. For example, when we speak Portuguese use it as a vehicle for interactive communication with meanings that cross the various diasporas and communities that make up our country, we are faced with a bonding power. This is also why that the arts, and the cultural agents are a humanist pillar that mirrors the state of development of a society’s socio-political perceptions.»

Photo: Kristin Bethge 2021


Andreia C. Faria,

«Perhaps it is not so much a vehicle for hope, but a way of consolation for oneself and for others. The books, sounds and images that we love lift us out from the emotional misery into which we sometimes fall.»

Cecília Andrade,
Editor at D. Quixote publisher

«Culture is a vehicle for hope because it carries memories, critique, reflection, dreams, and creativity. And, above all, it is an affirmation of humanity. The result of the creative human gesture is a reference that allows us to believe it is a means to the future. Through all forms of art, but especially through literature, we are carried on journeys, to live, and also to reflect and believe, making it a liberation.»

Photo: Alfredo Cunha


Vera Dias,
Bassoon player with the Gulbenkian Orchestra

«How would we overcome this pandemic without books, series, films or music? At every passing moment, we are inevitably present with some type of culture. A glimpse, a feeling, a memory triggered by a tune on Spotify. If we removed every cultural stimulus from our daily lives, what would be left? Culture is the engine that defines us as people, the warmth of the soul that leads us to believe there is still hope for a better tomorrow.»

Vado Más Ki Ás,

«Culture is undoubtedly a vehicle for hope because it has within all the tools required to bring help to those in need. Culture in itself involves education, achievement, motivation, responsibility and passion. In my work as a musician I always try to transmit this vehicle of hope to my fans and listeners through the passion and responsibility that I put into every tune. With every song I sing and every lyric I write I try to take my listeners to a better place and to give them comfort. And this is what also motivates me to carry on: knowing that whoever is on the other side is feeling, feeling my words and, if they are having a bad time, knowing that through them they can somehow overcome these difficulties or, at least feel a sense of identity and hope. A hope that is also a belief.»

Photo: Mike Blanco


Maria Imaginário,
Fine Artist

«Culture, in its many guises, is of enormous importance to me, not only in the understanding of society and our education as adults, but also as a way of breaking from our mundane daily routine. Art has the potential to inspire us, to carry each of us to our own magical place. For me, art is also a breath of fresh air. It invites us to reflect and to understand different points of view, helping to create new solutions and therefore giving us hope.»

Helena Mendes Pereira,
Director at Zet Gallery and Professor at University of Minho

«Recently, at the end of a guided tour of a contemporary art museum with university students, one student said: “See you at the next class, professor, God willing.” I interjected: “God has nothing to do with our classes, trips or cultural experiences. He does not and cannot. They are our own decisions, only related to our free will.” Artistic creation has two main protagonists in the communication process: it is the fruit of the creator’s thoughts, gaining subjective meaning in the eyes of the recipient — the public. It is in this subjectivity, which is intended to be secular, that resides our hope and our faith. It is in this meeting that critical consciousness is created, which fosters the collectivization of society and the belief that we all need to have in each other. This is the hope that lives within art, and in culture: its driving and transformational force, its potential to activate all the selves scattered in the post-modern solitude, its ability to change the world from the moment it transforms all those it touches.»

Vasco Barata,

«I’m going to ask you to do an exercise: name a place where the rules of everyday life do not apply. A place where we can imagine other ways of being, other futures, other ways of seeing, where the past, present and the future are in constant dialogue, where everything is possible in love, desire, identity, and community. Where every question is valid, where all knowledge is useful, where restlessness is the currency, where we prepare for… and rehearse… for what is to come. Art is, therefore, also hope.»

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