Meeting in Macau

Translation By: 
Tanja Wessels
Vhils brings artists from China and the eight Lusophone countries to Macau

Urban artist Alexandre Farto, better known as Vhils, and Pauline Foessel, director of the Underdogs Gallery in Lisbon, are the curators of the art exhibition ‘Macau Meeting – Arts and Culture Festival between China and Portuguese-speaking countries’ organized by the Macao Cultural Affairs Bureau. The work of 27 artists from eight Portuguese-speaking countries, Macau, Hong Kong and mainland China will be exhibited between July 8 and September 9, 2018 in exhibition spaces throughout the city. The event program reveals the scope of the exhibition which focuses on visual and urban arts, and is divided into six exhibitions, including street art installations, that explore the dimensions of the “Alter Ego” concept.

“The concept of the exhibition is to create a dialogue between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, to show that there are many differences, but also many similarities," Pauline Foessel explained to Macau CLOSER’s sister publication Ponto Final newspaper, from Lisbon.

The dialogue takes place between already established artists in the international art scene, such as Mozambican artist Gonçalo Mabunda, who creates sculptures made from military waste, Portuguese artist Vhils and Chinese artist Zhang Dali, as well as emerging artists such as Portugal's Wasted Rita and Brazilian Guilherme Gafi.

"I think it's a very interesting conversation between artists, about topics that concern them. In a way, we are all human beings, we have to interact with each other, we all have languages, cultural shocks, globalization affects us, all the artists come from very different places but share the same concerns. That was the idea from the beginning, to create a dialogue between Chinese, Macanese, Hong Kong and Portuguese-speaking artists," the curator explained.

I need to know myself in order to know the other

Each of the six exhibitions, under the central 'Alter Ego' theme, work as independent concepts, bringing together the works and perspectives of different artists, adds the director of the art platform founded by Alexandre Farto.

The first exhibition, "The Self," explores self-awareness and its role in our ability to interact with our surroundings. I need to know myself to know the other," Foessel explained. In this exhibition, to be presented at the Macao Museum, the installations of Macau duo, Joao Ó and Rita Machado, will conceptually coexist with the photo diaries of São Tomé's Herberto Smith, the paper structures of Chinese artist Li Hongbo, the interior photographs and daily life details of Mozambican Mauro Pinto, light installations by Vhils and intimate portraits by Hong Kong director of photography, Wing Shya.

The second exhibition, "The Other," expresses "how we need each other to exist and how it impacts the way we see and perceive ourselves."

In this sequence, the self-portrait work of Guinean artist Abdel Queta Tavares,  paper sculptures of Macau artist Ann Hoi, and the work of Cape Verdean urban artist Fidel Évora (1984), will be exhibited in the Old Court Building.

Also in this section will be the work of the trio from East Timor, Tony Amaral and Xisto Soares, Timorese artists who work in dialogue with Portuguese artist Ricardo Gritto. The sequence is completed with the urban intervention of renowned Chinese artist Zhang Dali, and Hong Kong painter Yiu Chi Leung.

 We are different, but fundamentally the same

The third part of the series, "From Language to Travel," centres on "communication and immersive travel experiences, exploring the idea of mutually understood languages, oral, visual, or other, that allow relationships to be established, and hence interest in the journey to know the culture of the other". This section, to be exhibited in Tap Seac Gallery, will feature installation works by Brazilian artist Marcelo Cidade and the collage work of Angolan artist Yonamine.

The fourth part, "Cultural Clash," or “Culture Shock”, revolves around the contrast between the lack of communication and the barriers created by different backgrounds and cultural experiences. It will bring together Mozambican artist Gonçalo Mabunda, Angolans Kiluanji Kia Henda and Nastio, and Portuguese artist Miguel Januário.

The fifth exhibition, "Globalization," broadens the spectrum, "analyzing the concept of interaction between people and larger entities, and the exchanges that take place in an increasingly interconnected world." Taipa Houses Museum will exhibit the works of Portuguese artist Wasted Rita and Guilherme Gafi from Brazil.

The final part of the program, "Alter Ego," concludes the process with a closer look at the understanding that, while we all look different, we are all fundamentally the same. Francisco Vidal, born in Portugal, but who’s work focuses on Angola, is the featured artist in this section.

The exhibition is completed with urban bamboo installations by João Ó and Rita Machado and Portuguese artist Add Fuel, known for his azulejo tile inspired public art.