Macau shown in three dimensions
Best known these days for its gigantic casinos Macau has a rich cultural history as Asia’s oldest European settlement, dating back 500 years.
Our JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice is uniquely placed to foster a wider understanding of Macau via a collaboration of three of its members.
Writer Brian Castro, visual artist John Young and sound artist Luke Harrald combined their talents to produce a trilingual project comprising an art exhibition, a sound installation and a book.
A beautiful and immersive experience, the Macau Days exhibition used beams of sound to present poems in three languages—Chinese, Portuguese and English—along with a synchronized soundscape and paintings illustrating the whole.
Images, stories and reflections on Macau were interwoven with its sounds to evoke a richly blended cultural melting pot.
The exhibition was fittingly held at the Migration Museum and was co-sponsored by our EU Centre for Global Affairs.
Two of the collaborators have strong connections to the region, which informed their creative contribution. John Young was born in Hong Kong and has exhibited there. Brian Castro was also born in Hong Kong and his father was from Macau.
Professor Castro says the Portuguese influence on Macau touched every aspect of life—religion, food, the legal system and marriage.
“Macau was both a trading post and a sort of exotic transit lounge for visiting writers from as early as the 17th Century.
“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.”
The book Macau Days includes recipes and photographs of the food to add taste to the other senses employed to evoke the truly multicultural flavour of Macau.
It has been described as a lavish work of art in its own right and has drawn interest from Portuguese publishers.
Professor Brian Castro
Chair Creative Writing
School of Humanities
Faculty of Arts
Dr Luke Harrald
Head - Popular Music
Elder Conservatorium of Music
Faculty of Arts