Through the Lens
Macao Magazine visual journeys
Connecting artists and collectors
Macao’s arts scene has made great strides in the past 20 years, thanks to generous government subsidies and the enthusiastic support of corporate partners. But while residents have become seasoned visitors to art museums and performing arts venues, many are still feeling their way when it comes to acquiring a work of art for themselves.
It launched in March last year through a partnership between the hotel and art dealership Galeria 57, which is managing the gallery’s daily operation.
“Our purpose is to contribute to developing the market for art in Macao,” says Jose I Duarte, who along with Lina Ramadas and Victor Hugo Marreiros, is a managing partner of Amagao Gallery. “The art scene in Macao is very lively but very much dependent on the public purse. I think for the market to create another dynamic, we need to go beyond that kind of dependence”.
In order to do that, the gallery stresses its accessibility and local links. Duarte points out that the gallery’s name corresponds to the first mention of Macao in Portuguese literature. In Chinese, “Ama gao” means “Bay of A-ma”, from which the name Macao is derived, with A-Ma being a local appellation for the Chinese sea goddess Mazu or Ma-tsu.
“We wanted to give a name that would connect to the history of this place,” Duarte says.
The gallery has a strong focus on art from the Portuguese-speaking world and has held three exhibitions to date. The inaugural show, “Color Lusofonia”, ran from March to May last year and was billed as a “Sino-Portuguese artistic and creative exchange”. It was followed by the “Lusografia” exhibition from June to September 2022, featuring Portuguese engraving, serigraphy, and printing. Most recently, a one-year anniversary exhibition ended on 25 May.
The fourth exhibition, “Portuguese Contemporary Art Exhibition 2023”, opened in June and will run until 6 August.
The upcoming exhibition will showcase over 30 pieces – including paintings, sculpture and mixed media artworks – by Portuguese artists Abílio Febra, André Pedro, Carlos Neto, Cristina Vinhas, Francisco Geraldo, Gil Maia, José Luís Tinoco, Maria João Franco, Maria Leal da Costa, Pedro Proença, Raquel Gralheiro, Lourenço Vicente, Victor Hugo Marreiros and the late Isabel Laginhas.
After this, the gallery will present an exhibition of work by Mozambican artist Suzy Bila from August to October. Other activities are being planned, such as workshops and talks.
“We are committed to make this gallery a place where things happen”, Duarte says, adding that Amagao is also open to working with other galleries beyond the Lusophone areas as it seeks to gauge the taste and interests of local buyers
“We are in contact with friends from other galleries in other places like Spain and the mainland to create some kinds of exchanges and collaborations”, he says.
The Artyzen Grand Lapa Macau shares the same broad vision as the gallery. “Art, culture and emotional wisdom are part of our DNA”, says the hotel’s General Manager Rutger Verschuren, who is also the Area Vice President of Macao Operations for the Artyzen Hospitality Group, a Shun Tak subsidiary.
The hotel already has some important works of art in the lobby and throughout the property, notably the Window of Tomar, which resembles a chapterhouse window at the Convent of Christ in the Portuguese city of Tomar, as well as pieces by local artists.
Through its partnership with the Amagao Gallery, the hotel “would like to bring art closer to people”, says Verschuren. Building the market for art in Macao starts from there.
The Amagao Gallery is open from 11 am to 8 pm, Tuesday to Sunday.