Great cities usually develop in a similar way. After the accumulation of a certain wealth, it is then used to attract cultured elites to drive local artistic development. We can point out examples from ancient times such as Chang’an, Rome, Constantinople, Florence and Venice, to modern times such as Paris, London and New York.
During the course of development, Macao has naturally used its economic advantages to enhance its cultural strength, having organized a myriad of cultural and artistic events, including the Macao International Music Festival, the Macao Arts Festival, the Macao City Fringe Festival and the “Encounter in Macao – Arts and Cultural Festival between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries”, supporting the growth of local art through intensive cultural exchange and cooperation. The “Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” has clearly bestowed Macao with the historic mission of “developing into a base for exchange and cooperation where Chinese culture is the mainstream and diverse cultures coexist”.
From economic advancement to cultural prosperity, from “moderately economic diversity” to “harmonious cultural diversity”, this is the path leading a city to its greatness. Culture is everyone’s business and true cultural vitality should start from the bottom up. The true exceptionality of a city must come from the concerted efforts of the government, enterprises, artists and residents who contribute through active participation in the development of culture.
Under the patronage of the Secretariat for Social Affairs and Culture, “Art Macao” will be launched on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Macao’s handover to China, which marks an important transitional point. “Art Macao” will be a half-year mega international art and cultural event organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau and the Macao Government Tourism Office, co-organized by the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau and the Higher Education Bureau, with the participation of foreign consulates accredited in Hong Kong and Macao, the six operators of hotels and integrated resorts and Nam Kwong (Group) Limited. This is not only an expansion in scale, but also a conceptual breakthrough!
To warm up for this arts and cultural festival of unprecedented scale, two art exhibitions are held: Italian Renaissance Drawings from the British Museum and Beauty in the New Era: Masterpieces from the Collection of the National Art Museum of China. Artworks from Western drawings to Chinese ink paintings by legendary figures in the world history of art, ranging from the Renaissance masters Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael to Chinese contemporary artists Qi Baishi, Zhang Daqian and Fu Baoshi, heralded the mega event!
The mega event’s highlight “Art Macao: International Art Exhibition” comprises an array of exhibitions, including the main exhibition at the Macao Museum of Art, several exhibitions organized by integrated resorts, hotels operators, foreign consulates accredited in Hong Kong and Macao, as well as six outdoor art installations. The exhibitions feature Chinese and foreign masterpieces from different historical epochs, ranging from dazzling timeless classics by Gauguin, Wu Guanzhong and Andy Warhol to contemporary artworks, all of which are sure to impress with their insightful, intriguing, elegant, glamorous and sumptuous quality, offering the audience a memorable and highly inspiring experience.
“Art Macao” also includes a number of artistic and cultural events, including major programmes of the concert seasons by the Macao Orchestra and The Macao Chinese Orchestra, signature programmes of the Macao Cultural Centre, International Youth Festivals and art exhibitions of Macao colleges and universities.
From early summer to mid-autumn this year, Macao will be imbued with the fascinating spirit of creativity. People will pay more attention to arts and culture, their artistic horizons will be broadened and the image of the city will be elevated.
“Diversity” is the theme of the first edition of the “Art Macao: International Art Exhibition” and also the core value of “Art Macao”. A diversity of a mega arts and cultural festival can capture more international attention and more public participation. Undoubtedly, the former can attract more comprehensive attention and allow more people to experience different artistic and cultural manifestations throughout the city and to appreciate outstanding artworks, thereby strengthening people’s artistic impressions and deepening the recognition of the directions in urban development.
“Art Macao” makes connections between arts and more residents and tourists from different backgrounds at more levels and in a larger scale. Coupled with more than 30 cultural activities in the line-up, interrelating with each other, the mega event creates a huge interactive network, drawing enthusiastic response from the public through the clustering effect, and thus creating more room for the development of local cultural industries. This is how cultural diversity and economic diversity facilitate and convert in each other.
Macao may still be some way off from the status of exceptionality, but this is the goal that we are striving to achieve, allowing the world to see a more beautiful “cultural Macao”!
Mok Ian Ian
President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the
Macao S.A.R. Government