As a city crammed with mega-resorts and gaming hubs, raw creativity is often pushed aside and under the concrete carpets of Macau. As the adage goes though, if you look you shall find, and beyond the reclaimed lands in overlooked decomposing parts of old Macau, the world of the street artist exists. These lesser populated grounds provide the opportunity for furtive, creative, albeit short-lived street art pieces and installations by various street artists, local and abroad. This type of art is in a state of constant flux as it is prey to the whims of the government, developers and city planners, but certain areas of the city definitely merit a visit if you’re into street art as there are some stunning pieces to be found in Macau.
This little quaint village is no longer quiet – Taipa Village has grown to be a bustling hotspot. It’s come a long way from being a small fishing village. It is now a very popular tourist attraction where one might find the best Portuguese restaurants and pork chop buns. There are also several buildings facades from the colonial era that have received tasteful redecorations thanks to graphic street artists. No one can miss the three-story yellow building covered in murals just at the entrance of Cunha-street, nor the spray-painted mural of an animated skull holding a stick of meatballs at the corner intersection of Rua do Cunha and Rua dos Clerigos near Starbucks. Our personal favorite is the face carved out on a rustic white wall along Rua dos Clerigos. Taking inspiration from Macau’s unique history and culture while exploring the concept of city identity, artist Alexandre Farte (aka Vhils) created this installation as an extension of his solo show for the Hong Kong Contemporary Art (HOCA) foundation. Too cool.
Coloane is arguably the only district in Macau that has maintained much of its old character, with European-style buildings lined along one side of the cobblestone-paved roads and stilt houses on the water along the other. It’s the ideal place to experience authentic Macanese village life. The once thriving fishing port is merely functional but members of the street art crew have given the village new life with their art. They’ve taken over walls with various mural styles, spray-painted or etched across galvanized tin houses and walls. These include a giant toddler face and stenciled silhouettes of a running dog,
Nam Van Lake Square
The artificially-made Nam Van Lake surrounded by likes of Grand Lisboa, Wynn, and MGM is a designated leisure area where most of Macau’s traditional festivals and celebrations are held. In line with arts and cultural development efforts by the government, the square houses of Anim’Arte is a creative space for artists of all kinds. Here, one might find locally-designed products at the indoor craft markets; surprising art exhibitions; and handcraft workshops all year round. A canvas of walls welcomes graffiti artists to showcase their works for a period of time as well.
Most locals will know the Portuguese Street as the short-cut to the Ruins of St. Paul which can be used to avoid the crowds of tourists coming from Senado Square. But the alley has more to offer than just a clear path to the famous landmark. There are vibrant-colored murals painted on the walls of buildings, houses, concept cafes, restaurants, and art stores. Random art sculptures also decorate the sidewalks. It’s undeniably difficult to resist stopping by for a quick Instagram shot or two as the whole street is photogenic.
An extension of the Galaxy Macau complex, Broadway Macau is an innovative entertainment space promoting Macau’s culture by way of gastronomy, performances, and street art. Since it’s opening, it has worked with various artists and associations including graffiti group Gantz5 and Macau City Visual Arts Society, providing a platform for them to showcase talents and works. Currently, there are 15 custom painted 3D murals done by artist Tracy Lee Stum and her team on display.