May 24 - August 25, 2024

“This is the dawn that I was waiting for
The first, whole and clear day
Where we emerged from the night and the silence
And free, we live in the substance of time”.
Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

The exhibition proposed and presented by the Embassy of Portugal in Italy, promoted by Roma Capitale’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Azienda Speciale Palaexpo, with the Camões, I. P., the Portuguese Ministry of Cultural Affairs, and curated by Alessandra Mauro in conjunction with Contrasto

The Dawn That I Was Waiting For. Portugal, 25 April 1974 – Images of a revolution
retraces the Carnation Revolution (so named after the gesture of a woman, Celeste Caeiro, who started to offer carnations to the soldiers in a Lisbon square) fifty years after the event – a huge collective event, a turning point for the country, for its reforms and its social life; for cities like Lisbon, which discovered a new form of community participation; and for the media, which opened up to new ways of communicating. The exhibition offers visitors a unique and engaging vision of one of the most significant moments in Portuguese, and indeed European, contemporary history, along with a chance to recall those days and to dwell on the social changes achieved.

Lisbon, 25 April 1974, 12:20 am. The Renascença radio station began to broadcast the notes of a song entitled Grândola Vila Morena. This was the signal to launch the military operations that would lead, in a very short time, to the end of the dictatorship and the start of a new era for the country and for Europe as a whole.

Within hours, the ranking officers loyal to the regime were being arrested, strategic sites such as the airport and the political prison were occupied, the dictator Marcello Caetano gave himself up to the rebels in the afternoon, and at 11.20 pm a law was passed decreeing the dissolution of the National Assembly and the State Council. In less than 24 hours, the country had consigned the authoritarian regime to the history books, amid rejoicing by the populace which took to the streets alongside the soldiers.

It was a rapid, peaceful mass revolution, the only one on the European continent in the whole of the 20th century, an event that involved, concerned and excited more than one generation of citizens, political activists and journalists who saw in Portugal,

in its ability to shake off decades of dictatorship and to emerge from its tragic colonial past, the possibility of devising and implementing a different way of living.


The exhibition hosts some 100 photographs by such great photographers as Alfredo Cunha and Carlos Gil from Portugal, Paola Agosti, Fausto Giaccone and Augusta Conchiglia from Italy, and international photographers such as Sebastião Salgado, Guy Le Querrec, Ingeborg Lippman and Peter Collis. The photographs are accompanied by film footage of the period supplied by the RTP - Rádio e Televisão de Portugal, and video and wallpaper installations reconstructing some of the most celebrated murals of the time.

In the first part of the exhibition, a detailed timeline retraces the events and the leading players in the Carnation Revolution from 25 April 1974 through to the proclamation of the new Constitution on 25 April 1976.

In the second part, the exhibition explores a series of issues ranging from the Agrarian Reform and decolonisation to the role of women, the explosion of graphic creativity that flooded the country and the art that it generated.

The exhibition is produced in collaboration with Leica, the Fundação Mário Soares e Maria Barroso, the RTP, Rádio e Televisão de Portugal, the Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, the Cinemateca Nacional, the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal and the Fundação Marques da Silva, with a contribution from Turismo de Portugal, BIAL, Amorim Cork, Ascenza and Sonae Sierra.