Camilo Pessanha and Mask, by Carlos Marreiros (acrylic on canvas, 1986)
Macau is unique in many ways and one of the city’s most remarkable traits is its multiculturalism. A safe port for people of the most diverse backgrounds up to this day, Macau has benefited greatly from the interaction of rich and diverse cultures. Art is unarguably one of the spheres of life in which this cultural pluralism has a greater impact and “Lyric Poetry – Works of Artists in Macao and Portugal from the MAM Collection”, part of Art Macao, the mega art and culture bonanza that has lit up Macau, is the most prosperous testimony to cultural interchange.
A Time to Celebrate
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Macau’s Handover to China and the special occasion is being celebrated with the second edition of the “Encounter in Macao – Arts and Cultural Festival between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries” exhibition, which is enhancing this city’s role as a cultural exchange platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries and further bringing people together through this exchange.
Art is one of the most powerful means to tell about a certain moment in time, about a country, culture, and its people with their fears and hopes. “Lyric Poetry – Works of Artists in Macao and Portugal from the MAM Collection”, is a wonderfully curated exhibition that fully embodies the depth of ties between Macau, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries, showcasing the outcomes of exchange between Macau and Portuguese artists over the past 30 years. Under the curational theme “Lyric Poetry”, this exhibition presents the audience with more than 90 outstanding artworks by 60 artists. The exhibiting pieces range from oils, acrylics, and watercolor paintings, to mixed-media paintings, sculptures, and installations; visitors are granted a visually fetching encounter.
Macau, a platform for cultural exchange
Over the years, the Macao Museum of Art has collected modern and contemporary works by local Chinese and Macanese artists, as well as Portuguese artists who have settled or exhibited in Macau. The audience can now enjoy this exquisite collection, embarking on a poetic journey of exchange. It is widely recognized that so much of this city’s history was built on cultural exchange. Its ever welcoming stance towards newcomers, the fact that diverse civilizations have always found a place in Macau where they were not only understood but embraced. This amalgamation is to be celebrated and initiatives like the “Lyric Poetry – Works of Artists in Macao and Portugal from the MAM Collection” exhibition promotes this, giving place to mutual understanding, dialogue and the continuation of a fruitful friendship.
Artwork by renowned artists like Júlio Pomar, Vieira da Silva, Bartolomeu dos Santos, Luís Demée, Carlos Marreiros, Mio Pang Fei, Kwok Woon, Manuel Cargaleiro, José de Guimarães and many more can be found at this exhibition, which is divided into six themes: “View Perspective”, “Colour of Macao”, “Dialogues of Materials”, “Abstract Soul”, “Masters’ Ripples” and “On the Journey”. Poetry, presented in both Chinese and Portuguese languages, is also spread throughout the exhibition lending a dynamic and fortunate interaction of different forms of arts blending together. This symbiosis is most evident by the poem called “Quatro Palavras sobre Camilo Pessanha” by the widely published poet and translator Yao Feng which was inspired by the painting “Camilo Pessanha and Mask” by local artist and architect Carlos Marreiros.
Prolific Cultural Connotations
What we loved the most about this exhibition is that one comes across typical scenes of everyday Macau, from dawn captured in a peaceful village by the sea picturing junks and acacia trees spreading out its long branches; to a colorful, full of movement, Chinese opera scene depicting powerful opera artists with their masks surrounded by red on a huge canvas (Chinese Opera, by Carlos Marreiros); these pieces display the diverse cultural aspects of our society.
Much like these Macau depictions, copious references to Portugal’s maritime ventures and its deep connection with the sea are also frequently found. One of the most impressive art installations at the exhibition is one by the late artist Kwok Woon, made out of recycled materials from the sea such as beautifully aged wood, ropes, and nets, that were full of different textures and depths, allowing us a glimpse into a world of fearless men setting sail towards the unknown.
Another imposing piece of artwork on display is a massive kaleidoscope (pictured above) showing a world that’s constantly changing through images of objects, people, historical places and scenery from years gone by depicted the works of painters from the previous generation. Viewers are invited to have a peek and experience the rapid shifts in light of his or her own perceptions and feelings.
Whichever your background is, we’re sure that at “Lyric Poetry – Works of Artists in Macao and Portugal from the MAM Collection” you’ll find something to relate to. In fact, you may find that you’re not alone! This show of humanity in art is absolutely wonderful. Make sure to immerse yourself in this poetic journey of exchange, exhibiting until November 4 at The Macao Museum of Art.
When: 10:00am–7:00pm, July 13–November 4, 2019
Where: Special Exhibitions Gallery, 3/F, Macao Museum of Art, Avenida Xian Xing Hai, NAPE, Macau
How much: Free admission
For more information, check the event’s official website