Royal Treasury Museum opens the 2nd Lisbon Contemporary Jewelry Biennial

with the contrast of the past and present of jewelry and the consecration of the Women of Democracy

The initiative is part of the official program for the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the 25th of April

PIN – Portuguese Association of Contemporary Jewelry, joins the official celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the 25th of April by launching the second edition of the Lisbon International Biennial of Contemporary Jewelry, with the title “Madrugada” and with the central theme “Political Jewelry. Power Jewels.”

With a program that will bring together around 150 jewellery artists and an expected 15 thousand people, the Biennale opens its program with a unique host: the Royal Treasury Museum will be the stage for two surprising exhibitions that will bring together the past and present of jewellery, with the celebration of democracy as a common denominator. The “Women of Democracy” Award also marks a special moment of tribute under this partnership between PIN and the Royal Treasury Museum.

Because jewellery has always had a close connection with power and politics, the 2nd Lisbon International Biennial of Contemporary Jewelry will celebrate the values of democracy with the artistic manifestation of jewellery art. With the title “Madrugada” – inspired by the poem by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen – the Biennale’s central theme is “Political Jewels. Jewels of Power” and is part of the official program for the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the 25th of April.

Owner of a unique estate that permanently displays a large part of the former assets of the former Portuguese Royal House, the Royal Treasury Museum will be the stage and host of the Biennale premiere. With an opening date of April 17, 2024, and extending until June 30, the Royal Treasury Museum will be the guardian of the “Contemporary Tiaras” and “Jewels for Democracy” Exhibitions, two exhibitions exploring different ways of connecting jewellery with power and consecrate women who stood out in the fight for democracy or against dictatorship in Portugal – and even in the world.

Curated by Catarina Silva, in the exhibition “Tiaras Contemporâneas”, former students from Ar.Co – Centro de Arte e Comunicação Visual and invited artists evoke in contemporary forms the tiara, a piece of jewellery almost forgotten in the 21st century, inviting dialogue with the classic jewels that make up the incredible collection of the Royal Treasury Museum. With the participation of around 40 artists, the “Contemporary Tiaras” Exhibition will feature the exhibition design by Mónica Taipina, which will highlight the contrast between tiaras from the present and the past of the Portuguese crown, in a true journey through time.

The “Jewelry for Democracy” exhibition will feature the participation of around 60 jewellery artists who were challenged to create a piece of jewellery in honour of women who played an important role in the transition to democracy or suffered especially with the dictatorship. In this exhibition curated by Marta Costa Reis, President of PIN, each artist freely chooses a recognized or anonymous woman who marked or marks activism in democracy. In addition to Portuguese women, some women who, in other geographies, defended, suffered and fought for the same ideals will also be honoured.

Assuming that jewellery is, even in our times, an object closely linked to the feminine, PIN and the Royal Treasury Museum will also promote the Women of Democracy Award, in which a recognized jury – to be announced soon – will award the three best pieces and interpretations of jewellery that make an ode to women whose lives are also inscribed in the history of Portuguese and global democracy. The aesthetic appeal of each piece, its connection to the values represented by the honoured woman and the general quality of the work will dictate the winning jewellery.

Marta Costa Reis, President of PIN and responsible for the general curatorship and artistic direction of the Biennale, points out that “it is our vision to connect the central theme of each Biennale with current affairs, bringing art together with the present moment. In the year that celebrates 50 years of democracy in Portugal, we want to take a deeper look at artistic jewellery and its relationships with power and politics. In the celebrations of the Revolution, we will certainly talk about many men, from the April captains to the politicians who led the regime, but with these exhibitions and the Prize, we want to highlight the role of women who, through their work or through the roles they performed alongside their husbands in high positions, they participated in the construction of democracy, sacrificing their personal, family or professional lives”

Nuno Vale, Executive Director of the Royal Treasury Museum, highlights that “The association of the Royal Treasury Museum with the 2nd Contemporary Jewelry Biennial appears as a natural movement, of a museum that wants to be alive, establishing a bridge between the past and the future jewellery, praising with particular enthusiasm the quality of national creation. We immediately agreed to host the thematic exhibitions – “Contemporary Tiaras” and “Jewels for Democracy”, not only for their exhibition quality but above all for their social and historical value -the cultural aspect of the exhibition proposal. These are two exhibitions that will certainly thrill and dazzle visitors.”

Expecting around 15 thousand visitors and participants, the 2nd Lisbon Contemporary Jewelry Biennial will feature a program of more than 25 events, exhibitions, school meetings, jewellery rooms, masterclasses and artists’ talks throughout the city and will also feature central stages and partners MUDE – Design and Fashion Museum, Ar.Co – Center for Art and Visual Communication, the Decorative Arts Museum – FRESS, as well as other entities in various parts of the city, such as Galeria Zé dos Bois, Atelier Tereza Seabra and Galeria Reverso.

It will be possible to see pieces by more than 150 authors from around 20 nationalities, revealing positions and proposing political reflections and comments on the most diverse topics, from questioning the financial system to problematizing racial issues, affirming rights, denouncing abuse or possible irony about our societies, always around jewellery as an artistic manifestation. Marta Costa Reis also points out “We will now discover what contemporary jewellery has to say on the subject. It will be a very comprehensive Biennial that will be close to people, raising awareness about multiple themes in society and impacting our daily lives.”

The 2nd Biennale has the institutional support of the Ministry of Culture, through the General Directorate of Arts and the Commission for the Celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the 25th of April, with MUDE/Lisbon City Council as its main partner, as well as the support from the Lisbon Tourism Association.

About PIN – Associação Portuguesa de Joalharia Contemporânea
Created in 2004, PIN – Associação Portuguesa de Joalharia Contemporânea was created to bring together the multiple talents, agents, academics and people who have dedicated their lives to jewellery, representing the sector, developing exchanges and launching new platforms for a discipline that, increasingly, it calls for encounters with other arts. Today, as the cultural association that it is, PIN aims to promote contemporary jewellery, triggering on a collective basis the exchange of information and experiences, the realization of theoretical and practical projects within the arts, with a special focus on jewellery, creating the most diverse initiatives of a cultural, national and international nature.

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