Standing 25 metres tall and bathed in the sun's golden sun rays that stream through a glass dome, the European-inspired Grande Praça at MGM Macau began the process of presenting a 35-metre-long and 20-metre-tall mass of boldly coloured patterned fabrics that envelop the central atrium, one just couldn't help wondering why.
But given time, the project has gradually morphed into a breathaking work of art: the "Valkyrie Octopus". Tentacles of intricate crochet work coupled with Nisa embroidery and bead embellishments sprawl over the plaza. Combined with magnificent light work courtesy of thousands of LED lights secured onto the structure, the Grande Praça has been completely transformed into a magical arena. This chef d'oeuvre by Joana Vasconcelos, an internationally distinguished Portuguese artist, was especially conceived for the five star MGM MACAU.
Valkyrie Octopus is Vasconcelos' fist solo exhibition in China. Just like other pieces in her Valkyrie series, Vaklyrie Octopus drew inspiration from the feminine heroes of Norse mythology who flew over battlefiends to choose the most valiant warriors for divine tasks.
Through the exhibition, MGM MACAU is aiming to reflect on Macau's role in the 500 years of trade between China, Portugal, and other countries. The art display is also part of MGM MACAU's ongoing efforts to promote culturally diverse art exchanges and to introduce the idea of Macau as a cultural hub.
Vasconcelos, the solo artist behind the most-visited exhibition in Paris in the last 50 years, said that she tried to find connections between the various elements in the space and her art materials when conceiving her work.
She wanted her art to connec with -- rather than fill -- the space and she did just that by offering visitors an opportunity to be a part of the exhibition. Viewers can sit on three large-scale floor sculptures and admire the exhibition from three different perspectives. Named after the main neighbourhoods in Portugal -- Chiado, Alfama, and Madragoa -- the sculptures are clad in handmade tiles with Portuguese and Hispano Moresque signature motifs.
The Valkyrie Octopus and the sculptures were constructed at Vasconcelos' studio in Lisbon. She teamed up with more than 50 professionals from different fields to bring her grand vision for MGM MACAU to life, and the project took almost 10 months to complete.
But Vasconcelos isn't the only artist MGM MACAU is working with. On June 17, the establishment, which is known for its fine décor, first-class service and authentic art collections, clinked glasses with 12 local Portuguese artists to celebrate the opening of the "Saudade" art exhibition, which showcases 40 artworks in celebration of Portugal's National Day.
For this exhibition, MGM MACAU collaborated with Arts for All Society, a non-profit organization that has showcased more than 1,000 art pieces to encourage and promote artists' works.
The inauguration was attended by the Consul-General of Portugal in Macau and Hong Kong, Mr. Vitor Sereno: "Saudade is a collection of artworks that reflects the emotions and sentiments of the local Portuguese through their time spent in Macau, and I am happy to see that the art programme is helping to connect the cultures of the Chinese and Portuguese."