Catherine Da SILVA, GiRÂNDOLA (2014). Lisbon (Portugal)
Portugal (Lisbonne / Lisbon)


Photo : 2 3 4 5

GiRÂNDOLA by the Franco-Portuguese artist Catherine Da Silva pays tribute to the Portuguese « carnation revolution» of 1974, which celebrates its 40th anniversary. This poetic and bloodless revolution, created by the army and the people, established peaceful and lasting democracy for Portugal.
Eight lighting-based sculptures placed in the square of Largo du Carmo in Lisbon evoke the red carnations offered by the crowds to the young soldiers who had liberated them from 48 years of dictatorship. Eight for the number of secret meetings organised by the insurgents in different parts of the country as a prelude to the revolution. The artist has projected the GPS coordinates of these meeting places onto the facades of surrounding buildings. The church and the archaeological museum are the last remaining buildings from before the great earthquake of 1755 and the National Republican Guard building was the last refuge of the fallen dictator, before he surrendered to the revolutionaries in 1974.
The forms of these sculptures, not only evoke carnations, but also the chimney-top extractors, whose petal-like blades shimmer across Lisbon’s rooftops. Just like a weathercock, these « carnations of light » turn with the direction of the wind.
The title of this piece »GIRANDOLA » (the Portuguese word for a chimney-top air extractor) is similar to “Grandola” the title of a revolutionary song that graced Portugal’s radio waves just before the revolution. There are many different readings and signs in this complex piece.
This project is above all, a celebration of the Portuguese Revolution, the downfall of a military junta and the peaceful establishment of democracy. The red carnation is a symbol of liberty, peace and hope for all mankind.
Negotiations are currently being held with the Department of Historical Monuments to exhibit one of the sculptures permanently in Lisbon, possibly on the square Largo du Carmo. One sculpture has found a home in Alcáçovas, and the others are due to be exhibited in places where the pre-revolutionary meetings were held.

The artist also wished that the « Carnations of light » go beyond Portugal, to other cities in Europe and Latin America, to recall the spirit of this revolution. One example was recently placed in the Place de Châtelet in Paris for the Nuits Blanches art festival, the proof that this work is living and evolving.

Photos 1,2,3,4 (c) Tiago Gonçalves
Photo 5 (c)Catherine Da Silva

Contact: Catherine Da Silva

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