Located in the Western Pearl River Delta by the South China Sea just off Guangdong, the former Portuguese colony is also a Special Administrative Region like Hong Kong. Known as the Las Vegas of Asia, there’s certainly more to Macau than just being a glamourous resort city and destination for gambling and entertainment. If you’re looking for an artsy weekend escape from Hong Kong, why not take the 1-hour ferry ride from the Shun Tak Ferry Terminal? Alternatively, with the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, a car ride will take around 45 minutes.
Macau peninsula is the main historical city hub and is where most sights and activities can be found. Packed with tourist attractions and interesting streets and alleyways, you’ll be landing in this district first if you enter the territory by sea or land. Follow our itinerary to discover art in this area, beyond the glittering lights of the casinos.
Macao Museum of Art (Museu De Arte De Macau)
A few minutes away from the ferry terminal, explore the largest museum of local art in the city. Founded in 1999, the Macao Museum of Art (Museu De Arte De Macau) displays classical and contemporary works from Macau and Southern China. While the permanent exhibitions remain focused on the region, the temporary displays possess a more international outlook, highlighting western art and practices. The Culture Centre in which the museum is located hosts regular performing arts events, which are dedicated to promoting arts awareness and education.
Tap Seac Gallery
The next stop is Tap Seac Gallery, established in 2015 to nurture public appreciation of the arts. Past notable exhibitions include Jean Baudrillard’s photography and Polish film posters. The gallery is also home to the annual Macau Visual Arts Exhibition that takes place in the summer, showcasing a selection of works by 60 local artists selected by an expert panel. The gallery itself is housed in a historical European-style baroque building with a distinctive flair – worth a visit in itself!
Academia Jao Tsung-I
Located just next door, Academia Jao Tsung-I was initially built in 1921 as a residential building, which is now a protected heritage site. It exhibits the calligraphy works and paintings of Professor Jao Tsung-I, a Hong Kong Sinologist, calligrapher, historian, and painter.
A few minutes away, 10 Fantasia is one of the most interesting and multi-functional art spaces in Macau, also having been repurposed from an old residential building. It serves as an incubator for local emerging artists and creative workers, featuring talent from the areas of performing as well as visual arts. Established in 2008, it boasts 2 exhibition halls and 10 showrooms, as well as classrooms and a library.
A stone’s throw away from the tourist hotspot of the Ruins of St. Paul’s, the Macao Museum recounts the history and culture of Macau over the centuries, with multi-media exhibitions ranging from photography to artisanal crafts to traditional folk art; a recent exhibition featured 19th century British photographer, John Thomson’s works alongside those of Wong Ho Sang. When you’re done with your visit, walk uphill to enjoy a panoramic view of the city!
Macau Contemporary Art Center – Navy Yard No.1 & 2
Finally, head in the southwest direction of the Macau peninsula to explore Macau Contemporary Art Center – Navy Yard No. 1 & 2. Transformed from an old dockyard mechanical room to its present space repurposed to exhibit contemporary art, the centre also seeks to actively promote art from different regions. Exhibitions and experimental performing arts programs are held regularly to engage audiences with local art and artists.
Admission to galleries is free, and they are normally open Tuesday-Saturday. However, there are exceptions; please always check their website or call ahead for exact opening days and hours before your visit.