What’s surprising about the “The Story of Yanxi Palace” isn’t its mega popularity or rave reviews. Rather, it is that some of this imperial-age television drama’s biggest fans are the young, urban, digitally and socially connected. Since the premier of its first episode on July 19, the show has remained one of Weibo’s top-trending list and the conversations on the country’s social media platforms are all about Chinese heritage and culture as well as the ancient and intricate Chinese costumes.
It is hardly any wonder then that MGM, a keen advocate of Macau’s arts and cultural experiences, has catapulted on this global trend with the launch of its latest exhibition, “Explore the Beauty of Chinese Embroidery”. This showcase, which opened on November 7, is a curation of China’s intangible cultural heritage and craftsmanship, with exhibits of actual items from the wardrobe designs of “The Story of Yanxi Palace” as well as ancient costumes from Kunqu opera. This exhibition marks the first time that the delicate costumes and accessories from the show are on display in Macau.
The launch of the exhibition was followed by a living heritage symposium at MGM Theater at MGM COTAI. Over 500 art and culture enthusiasts from Macau and across the region came together with four industry experts to discuss about Chinese heritage, and its modern interpretation and presentation to a new wave of designers and innovators.
Among them is Emily Chan, an up-and-coming film director in Macau. “I thank MGM for offering us this opportunity, which allows me to closely appreciate so many beautiful costumes and listen to the experts talking about the stories and culture behind the [art and film] creation,” she said.
Besides art experts and cultural aficionados, the symposium was also graced by around 30 members of the Macao Chinese Kunqu Culture Association. “We felt really honored to have had such a big symposium in Macau,” said Miriam Sun, Director of the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, who was the moderator of the symposium.
This ground-breaking event is just one of many endeavors by MGM as it continues to make world-class art accessible to everyone, and ultimately, to elevate Macau’s art and cultural landscape. And it continues to do so at both its properties in the city.
Since the opening of MGM COTAI earlier this year, the organizers have presented over 300 works as part of its eponymous Art Collection. At the same time a display of 28 Chinese imperial carpets from the 18th and 19th centuries line the Emerald Lobby walls. These rare and precious carpets are both decorative and symbolic, and possess rich historical and cultural significance. A distinctive feature of the MGM COTAI Art Collection are pieces of art that blend perfectly with the architecture’s interior design. For example, local calligrapher Ung Si Meng’s story of the Forbidden City is displayed alongside the imperial carpets.
On the Macau peninsula, MGM MACAU has welcomed over 300,000 visitors to its 25 world-class international and local exhibitions, including “Botticelli’s Venus: The Life and Times of a Goddess,” and renowned Portuguese contemporary artist Joana Vasconcelos’ “Valkyrie Octopus”. The city also saw its first co-creative digital exhibition, “Learn & Play! TeamLab Future Park,” at the MGM Art Space.
A pioneering digital art and innovation project by MGM include the Spectacle at MGM COTAI, which is revolutionizing the digital art scene in Macau. It comprises the world’s largest permanent indoor LED screens, and feature digital artworks by international renowned artists.
Of course, no endeavor is ever successful without the support of the community. With that in mind, MGM continues to engage with talented locals by immersing and involving them in the Company’s art journey. To date, MGM has trained over 500 local students through its training program to become skilled art guides. The training these students receive today equal an appreciation of art that MGM is nurturing in a new generation of art and culture aficionados.