Introduction

    The Macao Museum of Art (MAM) opened on 19th March, 1999. Now under the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao Special Administrative Region Government, it offers the largest display space for arts in Macao, with a total area of 10,192 square metres in five storeys, of which more than 4,000 square metres are exhibition areas. Two theme galleries are located on the 4th floor, with large display cases for artefacts and Chinese calligraphy and paintings; three theme galleries are on the 3rd floor, mainly showing collections of MAM and local artworks; on the 2nd floor, a large special gallery is dedicated to modern and contemporary western works of art. On the 1st floor there is a lobby exhibition space, the reception, the Museum Shop, the Palace Museum Cultural and Creative Store and an auditorium. On the ground floor is a functional area for artistic activities and education promotion workshops. Noteworthily, the Museum Shop sells MAM publications as well as creative and cultural products, whilst the Palace Museum Creative and Cultural Store is the first of its kind outside China, offering various cultural and creative products from the famous museum in Beijing.

    With most of its collection inherited from the former Luís de Camões Museum under the former Municipal Council of Macao, through multiple channels such as exhibitions, commissions, purchases and donations, the Macao Museum of Art has collected more than 16,000 items, ranging from the Chinese calligraphy and paintings, historical pictures, ceramics to photography, modern and contemporary art, performance art, archives and documents. Important treasures include ‘Peacock, Pine and Bamboo and Eagles’ by Ming dynasty court painter Lin Liang, as well as works in the Chinese paintings and calligraphy collection by Guangdong master artists Zhang Mu, Li Jian, Su Liupeng and Ju Lian from Ming and Qing dynasties. The category of Historical Pictures collection features works by 19th century well-known English painter George Chinnery, French painter Auguste Borget, English artist Dr. Thomas Watson, as well as António Baptista and Lamqua. In the category of ceramics, the Shiwan Ceramics collection includes works by noted ceramists Huang Bing, Chen Weiyan, Pan Yushu and Liu Chuan, is considered one of the best of its kind in the world. MAM also collects streetscape watercolours created by Russian architect and artist George Smirnoff who resided in Macao during the Pacific War, showing the city’s relatively peaceful and harmonious side in the turbulent 1940s.

    Committed to promoting cultural and artistic diversity and development, the Macao Museum of Art holds varied exhibitions, lectures, forums and arts workshops in cooperation with cultural institutes at home and abroad from time to time, in a bid to allow the public to appreciate and get acquainted with modern and ancient arts of different genres from China and other countries and regions. MAM has cooperated with Palace Museum, National Museum of China, Shanghai Museum, Nanjing Museum, National Art Museum of China, Zhejiang Museum, British Museum, State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Louvre Museum, Centre Pompidou, etc. Since 1999, the Macao Museum of Art and Palace Museum have been co-organising large-scale exhibitions of cultural relics annually, receiving acclaim and attention from the general public.

    MAM has held more than 480 exhibitions since its opening. Major exhibitions in recent years include: Marc Chagall, Light and Colour in Southern France; Masterpieces of Russian Art from the State Tretyakov Gallery; Italian Renaissance Drawings from the British Museum; Quietness and Clarity: Works of Chen Zhifo from the Collection of the Nanjing Museum; The Long Journey: The Forbidden City and Maritime Silk Road; Wandering across the Landscape: Collection of the Macao Museum of Art; Rebirth in the Spring Breeze: Art Exhibition of He Duoling; Multi-Prismatic Mutual Views: International Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary Art; Quintessence of Imperial Kiln Porcelain of the Ming Dynasty from the Palace Museum Collection; and Wild Imagination: Contemporary Ink Art in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao from 2000 to 2022; Fang Lijun: The Light of Dust.

     The Macao Museum of Art actively promotes the development of culture and arts in Macao, organising exhibitions of different genres featuring local artists every year. Under the name of ‘Macao, China’, MAM has participated in the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia since 2007 and in the International Architecture Exhibition since 2014, promoting Macao culture to the world stage.

    Ever since its inception, the Macao Museum of Art has attached great importance to art education. It has been organising different kinds of activities, including guided service for exhibitions, forums, lectures, courses, workshops and concerts in gallery, making the museum an interactive learning space of diversity. Moreover, various cultural activities, such as thematic workshops and art trips, are organised regularly for members of Friends of MAM every year. At the same time, MAM has published more than 280 exhibition catalogues, collection of thesis and educational booklets, with its exquisite exhibition catalogues being the most favoured by art lovers.

    The Macao Museum of Art will continue to take the lead in arts and aesthetics, promoting the development of local art and traditional Chinese culture and showcasing world masterpieces of fine art, in order to provide a strong cultural support for the development of Macao into ‘One Centre, One Platform, One Base.’

     

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