In celebration of the second “Encounter in Macao – Arts and Cultural Festival between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries”, the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Macau organised the “Lingua Franca – 2nd Annual Arts Exhibition Between China and Portuguese-Speaking Countries” exhibition, a superb testimony to the expression of contemporary art in China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
With Macau’s recent booming art scene, we find that there is a noticeable effort to celebrate diversity and cultural pluralism which, in times like these, is absolutely refreshing. Our differences must indeed be celebrated, for countless reasons, including that they also bring out our common ground–what unites us as humans. This exhibition, integrated into the “Annual Arts Exhibition between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries”, aims to highlight these countries’ cultural characteristics and nurture their cultural achievements, further promoting the interaction between people with different backgrounds and enabling mutual learning. This way, we’re not only being tolerant of difference, we are uplifting it.
The outstanding “Lingua Franca” exhibition showcases numerous works of contemporary photography and video by 22 representative artists from 10 countries and regions, including Mainland China, Macau, and Portuguese-speaking countries. The exhibition can be found in two different venues: the Green Townhouses (No. 55-57, Coronel Mesquita Avenue), opened for the first time since their recent restoration by the Cultural Affairs Bureau, and the Former Municipal Cattle Stable, also located on Coronel Mesquita Avenue. It’s wonderful to see art events taking place in properties that bear history and, at the same time, revitalizing this part of town. The Greentown Houses part of the exhibition–curated by Gu Zhenqing–hosts works by talented artists connected to China and Macau, such as Weng Fen and Edgar Martins, while the Former Municipal Cattle Stable part of the exhibition–curated by Albano da Silva Pereira–showcases works by Portuguese-speaking artists, such as António Júlio Duarte, Mica Costa Grande, and Evandro Teixeira.
Impressive works on exhibit
Photography is a language on its own, it sends out a message using visual elements, leading us to feelings and thoughts. The same image is experienced in different ways by different viewers. While visiting the exhibition, we felt close to the people and sceneries they portray, allowing us a glimpse at these people’s history, conveying their cultural identity and making it resonate with us.
One of the works we were most captivated by at the exhibition were the chromogenic prints by photographer Weng Fen, depicting modern metropolis such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Haikou on the horizon and a subject (often a girl in school uniform) in contemplation of the impressive urban cityscape from afar as if witnessing the rapid transformation these modern cities underwent.
Another stunning artwork on display at “Lingua Franca” is the chromogenic prints from the series Now Luanda, by Inês Gonçalves (see featured image). Several prints depict people looking straight at the camera and they all seem to stand proud, fearless and confident and we couldn’t help but to be reminded about the hardship Angola went through not that long ago. The new generation is meant to thrive, the past firmly behind them, and make the most out of their future–and their country to follow.
Scenes from places and daily lives set in Goa, Timor, Sao Tome, Brazil, Mozambique, Macau, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde are aplenty. It struck us that hung on the walls of the Former Municipal Cattle Stable, side by side, photography by different artists made in different places somehow seem to have a shared likeness and affinities among the Portuguese-speaking universe. This is one of the ways in which this exhibition is so powerful. Children playing freely outside (Mica Costa Grande) , a small boat (António Leitão Marques), a young man fishing (Mariano Piçarra), people contemplating an image of Jesus Christ (Pedro Vasquez), a man with his eyes closed enjoying the warmth of the sun on his face (Inês Gonçalves) are all simple yet complex fragments of time that occur regardless of geography.
Lingua Franca – 2nd Annual Arts Exhibition between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, besides being marvelously curated, surely sparks dialogue and cultural exchange. The exhibition is available until December 8 at the Green Townhouses (No. 55 – 57 Avenida do Coronel Mesquita) and the Former Municipal Cattle Stable (Avenida do Coronel Mesquita) – the two locations are within walking distance and the admission is free of charge.
When: September 26–December 8, 2019
Tuesdays–Sundays, 10:00am–7:00pm (including public holidays)
Where: No. 55 – 57 Avenida do Coronel Mesquita (Green Townhouses), Macau
Former Municipal Cattle Stable, Avenida do Coronel Mesquita, Macau
How much: Free admission