he principal aim of the Instituto Camões is to promote the dissemination of Portuguese language and culture in foreign countries.
With this in mind, the Institute has rightly decided in 2000, to stage an exhibition under the title of "The Art of Azulejo in Portugal", entering into a technical partnership with the Museu Nacional do Azulejo / Instituto Português dos Museus.
A small catalogue was produced and now re-published, which continues to serve as a finely illustrated document of an exceptionally important example of the Portuguese national genius.
Having been a big success when it first appeared, at the beginning of the millennium, the Exhibition has been re-staged to mark the occasion of the Portuguese Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
Reproductions of "azulejo" work from all eras represented in the Exhibition are now on display, together with a number of original pieces by well-known contemporary artists.
In essence, the Exhibition represents a "privileged itinerary" for the purpose of disseminating awareness of this art form among people abroad. Its effect has been to demonstrate the important role the "azulejo" has played in the life of Portugal - a role that has itself reflected significant aspects of our national history and culture - while at the same time having a special place in the world of the decorative arts.
To all those who have contributed to the creation and development of this project, from its genesis through all the stages of its evolution, I should like to offer my warmest and most heartfelt thanks.
Simonetta Luz Afonso
President of the Instituto Camões