Art | 130 female artists join first Macau Biennial

A painting by Paula Rego (pictured) will be showcased at the exhibition

For the first time Macau will hold an International Biennial solely dedicated to the works of female artists.

The plan to hold the event was foreshadowed last year when an exhibition of works made by female artists (28-28), organized by the Albergue SCM was held for the second consecutive year to celebrate International Women’s Day.

At the time of the exhibition, which featured works of female artists from Macau and the Portuguese-speaking countries, the man responsible for the venue and exhibition, architect Carlos Marreiros said that the idea behind such exhibitions was to acknowledge the works of women from across the region and to highlight their artistic capabilities.

“We had been testing the market and the reaction of people [with the previous events] and decided that it was time and that the conditions had been gathered to move into a worldwide event,” Marreiros told the Times yesterday. “There isn’t currently any event like this being held worldwide and I always thought that Macau should hold an event of this nature. It will put Macau on the map for excellent reasons such as the valorization of women.”

Marreiros shared that “there will be participants from all over the world. All the continents will be represented,” adding, “there will be over 130 participants in total.”
As in last year’s exhibition, this major event will continue to support the participation of artists from Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries such as Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe and East-Timor.

Among this list, the organizers highlighted the participation of  Portuguese visual artist Paula Rego. “She will be present with one of her paintings,” Marreiros said, adding that due to her current age (83) and health condition, Rego will not be able to attend the inauguration. She will be represented in Macau by her daughter Victoria Willing.

The list of participants will also represent Hong Kong, China, Japan, Russia, Spain, Georgia, India, South Korea and Iran and of course, Macau.

Women-dedicated art biennales are very rare, with Asia the tentative trendsetter in this field, where the International Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale (South Korea) assumed the leading role, holding the first one of this kind starting from 2004 and until 2011.

The Whitney Houston Foundation has held two events that have similarities to the upcoming Biennial in Macau; the first was in 2014, two years after the death of the singer, and the second was held last year. Both were dedicated as a tribute to all women.

The event will be inaugurated on March 8 (International Women’s Day) and will occupy the walls of the Macao Museum of Art (MAM) until May 13.

But, as Marreiros noted, this is just the main event of a series of talks, conferences and other activities happening concurrently. Marreiros noted that Portuguese artist Raquel Gralheiro will display an exhibition featuring the women in the Chinese zodiac at the Albergue SCM art gallery, during the same time period as the Biennial.

The event is jointly organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau, MAM, and Albergue SCM.

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