U.S. Ambassador Robert Sherman joined State Secretary for Culture, Jorge Barreto Xavier, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Luis Campos Ferreira and Spanish Ambassador Eduardo Junco to participate in a press availability to highlight the festival “IBERIAN SUITE: global arts remix” to be held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, March 3 – 24, 2015. More than 60 participants were present, including members of the press, but also some of Portugal’s finest artists, such as João Gil, José Luis Peixoto, Tiago Rodrigues, Manuela Pimentel and The Gift.
During his remarks, Ambassador Sherman said that “Americans need to do what the Portuguese did long ago, that is America needs to discover Portugal,” observing that there is a lack of knowledge in the United States of Portuguese culture and products. He noted that over a three week period, the Iberian Suite festival is expected to host approximately a half million visitors and will reach more several million more through digital media.
The Secretary for Culture, Jorge Barreto Xavier, recognized the contributions of many in realizing the festival, for bringing the best of Portugal to Washington. He highlighted the historic links between the United States and Portugal and past Portuguese exhibitions, but acknowledged that Portugal and Spain needed to promote their contemporary image in the United States. Spanish Ambassador Junco added that Spain and Portugal need to promote their creative contemporary cultures in the United States, distinguishing from those of the past. “Brand Portugal needs promoting,” according to the director of the Dona Maria National Theater, actor and playwright Tiago Rodrigues. “Portugal is the world’s best kept secret,” added Sónia Tavares, vocalist of the contemporary Portuguese band “The Gift.”
The Kennedy Center and the American public will be privileged to witness the talent of Iberia, including Portuguese and Spanish artists, as well as its diaspora, from architecture to ceramics, from fado and dancing, literature and theatre, to design and wine. Singers Carminho, Camané and Antonio Zambujo; choreographer Vasco Wellenkamp; musicians Rodrigo Leão and João Gil; actors Diogo Infante, Tiago Rodrigues and Gonçalo Waddinton; architects Siza Vieira and Souto Moura; artist Vhils and the band The Gift; writers José Luis Peixoto and Afonso Cruz are among the many Portuguese who will showcase their talents.
Named in honor of President John F. Kennedy, the Kennedy Center is a tribute to the former U.S. president’s passion for the arts, and is the premier arts center in the United States. Aside from the half a million visitors expected during the festival, many more in the U.S. and beyond will experience the festival through its media outreach the local, national and international print, TV, and cyber world.