Current Issue #488

Where East Meets West

Where East Meets West

Macau Days is a melting pot of mixed-media featuring the work of renowned artist John Young, acclaimed writer Brian Castro and award-winning composer/media artist Luke Harrald.

The exhibition celebrates Macau, the oldest European settlement in Asia, through a series of images, ideas and stories. It highlights the region’s fascinating story of mixed cultures, music, literature and cuisine proving that it’s more than just the Vegas of the East.

“I think it is important to see how Macanese history, culture and lifestyle evolved, rather than just viewing Macau as the gambling centre of the world, which is threatening to outstrip Las Vegas,” Castro says.

The collaboration between Castro, Young and Harrald came about because they are members of the JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice that investigates how different art forms converge and how they transform content when they are brought together. While Young and Castro have known each other for about 30 years and both hail from Hong Kong/Macau, the inclusion of well-known sound installation artist and composer Harrald was an obvious one.

“The artists explore the idea that Macau was both a trading post and a sort of exotic transit lounge for visiting writers from as early as the 17th Century,” Castro says. The exhibition also highlights the Portuguese influence on the Chinese with the result being an eclectic region where East meets West.

Through his paintings, Young pays homage to historical figures like Wenceslau de Moraes (writer and translator, 1854–1929) and Wu Li (poet and priest, 1632–1718) both of whom used Macau as a “transit lounge” between the two cultures. Castro contributes poems and prose and Harrald a soundscape to heighten the experience for the viewer.

As well as hosting this fascinating exhibition, the Migration Museum is also the site for the launch of the book Macau Days, which includes images of Young’s paintings accompanied by Castro’s writing and unique Macanese recipes.

“I think audiences will have an experience of visuals, sound, poetry, and taste,” Castro says. “I hope they take away an expanded knowledge of Macau, its flavours and its history. I hope they will also buy the book and take it home!”

Macau Days
Migration Museum
Saturday, September 23 to Sunday, October 8

Header image: John Young, ‘Marienbad’, 2012 (detail), Courtesy of Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong.

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