Macao International Art Biennale 2021 promises a cultural treat

The four month-long international cultural and artistic event by Art Macao features 30 art exhibitions in 25 locations across the city.
Macao, art macao, biennale
Known for its shopping and gaming, Macao is also getting established on the art circuit. Image: Pexels/Robert Stokoe.

The ‘Art Macao: Macao International Art Biennale 2021’ opening at the Macao Museum of Art on July 15, presents a moveable feast for the art inclined. It features 30 art exhibitions in 25 locations from now until October, which will be a big draw for travellers from across the world. Visitors can experience a truly immersive cultural atmosphere, where the entire city metamorphoses into an installation-filled gallery and art garden and the world can be a canvas. Life can indeed be made beautiful, especially with so much creativity concentrated in one city and the government granting MOP 8 million to make it a success!

Expect a stellar edition curated by Professor Qiu Zhijie, one of the most influential contemporary artists in China, and Dean of the School of Experimental Art of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, which focuses on contemporary visual arts. Art Macao is divided into several sections: main exhibition, special exhibition of resorts and hotels, creative city pavilion, public art exhibition, selected works by local artists and a collateral exhibition, aiming to reshape the humanistic spirit in the post-pandemic era.

The main exhibition at the Macao Museum of Art is divided into three parts, providing a space for reflection and discussion on globalisation and individuality, life and dreams, remoteness and proximity, security, and happiness, among others. The three thematic exhibitions feature over 40 artists from nearly 20 countries and regions, presenting more than 100 pieces/sets of artworks.

Macao, art macao, biennale
The Dream of Mazu – Translated Vase. Image: Courtesy Macao Tourism.

The first part ‘The Dream of Mazu’ juxtaposes Ming’s and Qing’s export porcelain transhipped through Macao, the combination of traditional and contemporary creations of azulejo tiles by artists from Portugal, and the brand-new blue-and-while porcelain works by artists from China and the Middle East. The second part, ‘Matteo Ricci’s Labyrinth of Memory’ describes the Western world’s view of China over 500 years. Both parts of the exhibition are to be held until August 15. The third part, ‘Advance and Retreat of Globalisation’ shows that artists around the world have been continuously working on creation, striving to open a new spiritual path that leads the world from despair, and organising ideas about tradition and memory mentioned in the first two chapters. This part of the exhibition is to be held until October 17.

Macao, art macao, biennale
Matteo Ricci’s Labyrinth of Memory – Bottany #7. Image: Courtesy Macao Tourism.

Apart from six works of public art by artists from Argentina, China, Egypt, Italy and Thailand displayed in various districts, Macao’s resorts are also getting into the act. For example, Galaxy Entertainment’s exhibition ‘Juxtapose’ features Malaysian artist Tang Mun Kian’s giant steel rod sculptures; MGM’s ‘Awakening’ has work by the famous Xue Song, Liu Guofu and Hung Yi; Melco Resorts’ collection titled ‘The Sea’ is all about drama through water. Sands China Ltd is behind ceramic artist Caroline Cheng’s beautifully curated ‘Beyond The Blue – An Exhibition of Ceramic Extraordinaire’. SJM Resorts are showcasing unique styles of local artists and the fusion of Chinese and Western styles, while Wynn Macau has a thoughtful set titled ‘Illusions and Reflections – Through the Eyes of the Masters’.

Under the patronage of the Secretariat for Social Affairs and Culture and the Secretariat for Economy and Finance, ‘Art Macao: Macao International Art Biennale 2021’ is being organised by the Cultural Affairs Bureau and the Macao Government Tourism Office, and co-organised by the Education and Youth Development Bureau, Galaxy Entertainment Group, Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited, MGM, Sands China Ltd, SJM Resorts Limited, Wynn Macau, Limited, and Nam Kwong (Group) Company Limited, with the participation of various cities and Air Macau.

The Cultural Affairs Bureau has mandated relevant COVID-mitigation measures to ensure safety during the cultural extravaganza. All participants must wear face masks, undergo temperature checks, present a valid ‘Macao Health Code’ of the day, and follow crowd control measures on-site. Admission to all activities is free. Hopefully, Macao will open to Indian visitors soon so art aficionados can plan a visit.

Throwback to the first Macao Biennale in 2019. Video: Courtesy Art Macao.

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