In the middle of the 16th Century, Portuguese merchant ships started to anchor off Macao. Since that time, an exotic culture has taken root in this tiny southern Chinese city. Over the years, foreign cultures - Portuguese, Malaysian and Japanese to name but a few - have coalesced with each other, profoundly influencing the lifestyle, diet and even daily use of language in the city. At the same time, Western science, art, religion and culture have been imported to China via Macao, while rich Chinese products and even philosophical concepts have travelled to Europe from the city. The cultural exchange between East and West largely has its origins in Macao.
Following the Opium War in the mid-19th Century, Macao was overtaken by Hong Kong as an international trade port. Consequently, the city started to withdraw from its role as a centre of ‘cultural transfer’. Nevertheless, local culture has not stopped developing. The Luis de Camoes Museum – the first in the city and a predecessor to the Macao Museum of Art - was founded in 1910. In the 1930s, the museum developed significantly thanks to the devotion of various passionately enthusiastic individuals in local society. The collections acquired increased at a steady rate and in the 1970s the museum sought to broaden the exposure of local artists by founding a gallery in addition to displaying collections. The museum has also encouraged foreign and local artists to hold exhibitions in order to build a strong base for exchange between artists, providing rooms for them to continuously improve by viewing and learning from each other’s works.
On 19th March 1999, the year that Macao was returned to China, the Macao Museum of Art officially opened its doors to the public - a brand new cultural facility and an important venue for large exhibitions – since when it has hosted over 100 various exhibitions and activities. Event collaboration has involved many leading art museums from Mainland China such as the Palace Museum in Beijing, Shanghai Museum, Nanjing Museum and Henan Provincial Museum as well as museums, artists and collectors from Hong Kong, Taiwan, France, Portugal, Italy, the Czech Republic, Finland, Spain, U.S.A., Mexico, Columbia, Egypt and New Zealand. Exhibits include precious relics from the Imperial Court of the Qing Dynasty and masterpieces representing the very essence of Chinese tradition and culture, such as the works of Chen Chun, Xu Wei, Dong Qichang, Ba Da, Shi Tao and the Eight Eccentric Painters of Yangzhou plus Wu Changshuo, Zhang Daqian and Fu Baoshi in more recent times. In addition, MAM has exhibited masterworks by prominent artists such as Pablo Picasso, a giant in the lexicon of Western art, Joan Miro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Niki de Saint Phalle, Yves Klein and Arman. As such, Macao Museum of Art is playing an important role in cultural exchange between East and West.
Apart from quality, the success of an exhibition depends on the image it is projecting and whether the design of the promotional poster highlights the features of the event or publications attract readers whose attention and interest is sufficiently aroused. These are important considerations for organisers. We have an excellent team of young designers who create posters for all events with great artistic flair and who constantly strive to free themselves from convention in order to create a unique impact. They strive to introduce modern visual elements into traditional, formulaic content by employing variations in such elements as colour and font style and size.
Macao is a city of various integrated cultures and it is therefore inevitable that we sometimes face problems concerning the language of different ethnic groups when designing our posters. For example, Chinese, Portuguese, English and even French, Spanish and Italian often have to appear on one poster. Nevertheless, ingenious designs bring unique solutions to what at first glance appears to be restrictive. In 2004, we were invited by Lahti Posters Museum and Helsinki Posters Gallery to exhibit. During 2006 and 2007, many of our creations were displayed in two cities in the Czech Republic, with venues including the main exhibition hall of the 22nd International Biennale of Graphic Design Brno 2006 and Juri Trnka Gallery in Pilsen.
Macao Museum of Art managed by the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau is honoured to work with The University City Art Museum of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts to introduce these posters to the citizens of Guangzhou. The 100-plus exhibits have been created by our own graphic designers. By viewing these posters - with their individual characteristics - viewers can enjoy the unique art creations of the designers and review the exciting exhibitions and events that the Macao Museum of Art has hosted since its opening. In sharing those experiences with us, they will bear witness to the increasing success and growing maturity of Macao Museum of Art.
UNG VAI MENG
Director, Macao Museum of Art