Macau’s first large-scale arts and culture event came to an end in October, after half a year of world-class displays and performances that attracted widespread critical acclaim. Organizers say next year’s event will be another spectacular affair.
The debut of Art Macao was a resounding success, as the entire city became a gigantic gallery and theater space for six months of this year, displaying a smorgasboard of unique and world-class art and performances across a wide variety of venues.
A total of 41 events were held in 55 locations, attracting more than 16 million visitors. Moreover, Art Macao has been established as a regional and global brand, with positive and long-lasting after-effects. Media coverage, especially within the Greater Bay Area, has been extensive and constructive. By giving full play to its advantage in cultural resources, Macau has been able to actively engage with other cities in the GBA.
Jointly organised by several departments of the Macao SAR Government, in cooperation with six hotels and integrated resorts and five foreign consulates accredited in Hong Kong and Macao, Art Macao became a unifying event for many sectors of society. With the government leading, enterprises, artists, and residents participated with enthusiasm in this international cultural and artistic feast.
During the event, there were many international art exhibitions, large-scale performances, international youth festivals, and university visual arts exhibitions. These included 21 international art exhibitions, six outdoor art installations, 11 large-scale performances and three international youth festivals at 55 locations across the city. A total of 328 artists from 37 countries and regions participated in the events, together with 1,002 outreach activities. Over 17 million tourists visited Macau over this period.
Art Macao was not only an event for connoisseurs of art and culture. It was also appealing in an intimate way for a wide cross-section of the public, as the city came alive with indoor and outdoor events in venues that allowed for easy access.
At the Macao Museum of Art, international, regional and local museums collaborated to launch several major exhibitions. These ranged from collections from the British Museum to treasures from the National Art Museum of China. The Art Macao: International Art Exhibition, the event’s centerpiece, captured the essence of this collaboration.
State-level enterprises, resorts, and hotels made good use of their own artistic resources to launch various exhibitions, from ink painting to installations, including both classical and contemporary. Many world-class works were stunningly presented, attracting a large number of residents and tourists.
Fans of traditional art relished the “All That’s Gold Does Glitter” ceramic art exhibition in Sands China. Across at MGM China they were delighted by the “Hua Yuan” art exhibition, where installations, digital works and opera fused traditional Chinese culture and modern technology. Modernists fans, meanwhile, enjoyed Galaxy Entertainment Group’s “Grace Kelly: From Hollywood to Monaco – Artists’ Tributes”. These showed that good design can stand the test of time and crosses many diverse regions.
SJM’s contribution – “Art ·Appreciation ·Legacy” – hosted seven exhibitions across the group’s hotels. Each had contrasting themes, from Paul Gauguin’s “Coin du Jardin” to “Visions of Chinese Traditional”, to arts from Portuguese artists and contemporary glass art exhibition. These led audiences to experience Chinese and Western cultures in 360-degree settings.
Contemporary art works also shone in Art Macao. Wynn Macau’s “Garden of Earthly Delights” stood out, with a stunningly creative audio-visual exhibition that wowed audiences. Melco Resorts also provided excellent displays, with a number of works from highly regarded contemporary artists, holding two series of exhibitions, “Unexpected Encounter” and “Journey From Ukiyo-E to Anime”. Nam Kwong Group showcased the work of the famous French sculptor Gabrielle Wambaugh, which reflects the combination of space and art. These all allowed audiences to experience how contemporary art has transformed, liberated and grown from traditional art.
In addition to a series of international art exhibitions, a number of foreign consulates in Hong Kong and Macau exhibited their unique artistic and cultural features. Those from Portugal, Italy, Japan, Belgium and Hungary showcased diverse works.
Universities did their part, too, holding a visual art exhibition, entitled “Growing with the SAR”. There were also many dance and musical performances, as well as outdoor art installations created by foreign and local artists. These added a touch of atmosphere to city corners, attracting rave reviews from residents and tourists alike. Highlights included “Sanctuary,” designed by João Ó and Rita Machado, the Macao artist Wong Ka Long’s “The Wanderer” and Hong Kong artist Mok Yat San’s silver “Manned Horse No.5.” All of this demonstrated the support of the Macau government and enterprises in fostering local art development.
In order to promote the popularization of art education, “Art Tour” included a series of guided tours to important exhibitions. These introducing the cultural contents of the works, with guides helping members of the public appreciate art from multiple perspectives and to re-experience Macau in a new light. Most of the public sessions were fully booked immediately after launch. Participants were members of social service organizations and institutions, students and teachers from schools and higher educational institutions. Nearly 1,000 participants attended 33 sessions over two months.
Overall, the organizers said Art Macao had achieved a highly positive result, building a new brand that was continuing to spread regionally and globally. This had given the city a new urban experience to cherish and provided a new impetus to cultural tourism development.
Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam Chon Weng, said he believes that the event provides strong cultural support to the city’s development of establishing itself as “a hub of exchange and co-operation where traditional Chinese culture prevails and other cultures flourish in harmony”.