UEA World Art Research Seminar 2021
A black and white photograph shows four men standing around a column on a rocky outcrop, one in clerical dress, one in military uniform, and two more dressed in suits. The monument comprises a pitted stone column surmounted by a metal shield with the coat of arms of the king of Portugal and a metal cross inscribed with the name “Dom João” and the date “1485”. This column, known in Portuguese as a padrão, is a nineteenth-century replica of a fifteenth-century monument, shipped from the port of Belém in Lisbon in 1485 and erected on the Cabo Negro on the coast of modern-day Angola, only to be sent back from Angola to Lisbon in 1892. The original was (and still is) displayed in the ethnographic museum of the Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa alongside the remains or reconstructions of four other early padrões. The replica shown in this photograph was destroyed in 1975 by the independence movement in Angola, an episode of iconoclasm that is testament to the enduring association of this monument with colonial oppression. This paper explores the forelives and afterlives of the padrões, with particular attention on the shifting significance of their inscriptions and heraldic insignia.
Chaired by Simon Dell
Organised by Dr. Ed Krčma
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