“Natura” opening October 1 – December 13 – Free Admission
Natura: Contemporary Art and the Respect for Planet Earth
On September 30, ARTFEM 2020, entitled Natura, commences at 6.30 pm (GMT +7) with an opening ceremony at Albergue SCM.
Natura, the Latin word for nature, is the evolving theme for ARTFEM 2020, the only women artist international biennial running in the world. This year coincidently celebrates women and their artistic practice with the season inspired by the local legend of the Moon Goddess 嫦娥Chang’e. ARTFEM is organized by Albergue SCM and sponsored by the Macau Foundation and various parties.
Natura: mindfulness, yoga and the respect for Planet Earth
Natura brings together several women who routinely practice yoga and meditation. Two such examples are Chinese curator Alice Kok, who practices Vipassana and Samatha meditation – an ensemble that brings the insightful aspects of Vipassana and the abiding and calming ones of Samatha –, while Portuguese curator Leonor Veiga routinely practices Ashtanga Yoga since 2006. This practice, she argues, enables her to maintain a sharp mind and a young body.
Like them, several women artists featuring the show practice different kinds of mindfulness, e.g., Arahmaiani, Clara Maciulis, Franziska Fennert, Joana Gonçalves Pereira, Kiko Tabuchi, Kirsten Berg, Krupa Makhija, Lenny Ratnasari Weichert, M J Lee, Mithu Sen, Nasrin Golden, Sophie Parienti, etc.
These practices have kept the group of women united throughout the challenging exhibition process – one that witnessed delays (the exhibition was initially scheduled for March 8, 2020), confinements, and economic challenges. Their practice also means that they embody deep respect for the natural world materialized in mindful eating while caring for their (global) communities.
Today, to navigate life’s challenges, it is imperative to create bonds. Similarly, it is urgent to celebrate nature and campaign against environmental destruction that permeates our lives.
A Women-Only Biennale
ARTFEM contributes to the greater visibility of contemporary women artists by acknowledging various social agency acts practiced by women. Women artists’ work is increasingly showcased internationally; other women-only biennales of the past also had the merit to expose the need for female institutional representation, even if these outstanding projects did not survive the test of time.
Devoted to being the exception, ARTFEM 2020 follows the success of ARTFEM 2018 at the Macau Museum of Art (with over 100 works from established and emerging global artists) by featuring 142 works created by 98 women actively working as artists. The pieces were produced between 2018 and 2020 to bring to the foreground the latest tendencies on Natura.
About ARTFEM 2020
Conceptually set to open on Women’s International Day – March 8 – every other year, ARTFEM celebrates International Women’s Day. This second edition was postponed due to the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that affected Macau SAR in January 2020, provoking the city’s early lockdown. Macau’s effective control of the health crisis led the organization to reschedule the show to September 30, 2020.
Due to this peculiar confluence of burning issues, it can be said that Natura equally marks the importance of Women’s International Day, March 8, and Earth Day, April 22 (also the first day of Spring).
The Curatorial Strategy
By adopting a thematic strategy, the curatorial team pursued two intents: one, creating a unified exhibition in which all artists reflected personally about a globally relevant topic – the natural world –, and two, to pay tribute to women’s role in bringing the environmental crisis to the foreground.
ARTFEM 2020 curatorial team is comprised of Arch. Carlos Marreiros, President of ARTFEM Organizing Committee and Head Curator of this edition, and co-curated by China-based Angela Li, who brings a Chinese-focus. The duo Alice Kok and James Chu selected local Macau artists as well as Hong Kong ones; and Dr. Leonor Veiga, a Macau SAR Permanent Resident curated, along with Marreiros, the international selection of artists.
Participating artists originate in the People’s Republic of China (13); Portugal (16); Macau SAR (31); Hong Kong SAR (7); South Korea (2); Japan (1), etc. This multimedia show displays painting, sculpture, ceramics, installation, drawing, silkscreen on diverse media, video, and photography. Please find the full artist list here. Meanwhile, renowned Chinese artist Xiang Jing and Macau artist Un Chi I serve as Godmothers of Natura.
“Women can be born artists. From childhood to adulthood, the colors of their dreams are always growing. With their sensitivity, tenderness, kindness, and tenacity, they fragment the void, color the clarity, and transform the figurative into the abstract. How beautiful women artists are!” – Un Chi Iam, February 2020, Macau SAR
“Gender is not a particularly important issue. The most important is how people recognize themselves. Gender is just a reference, a condition for questions. In this era with multiple standards and values, the premise of freedom is self-awareness, whose premise is self-reliance, self-discipline, and introspection. And then likes a tree, one keeps growing.” – Xiang Jing, September 2020, Macau SAR
When and Where
ARTFEM 2020, Women Artists International Biennial of Macau, will open on September 30 and run until December 13, 2020. To allow a “biennale feeling”, the show was spread in 4 venues in the Macau Peninsula: Albergue SCM, Former Municipal Cattle Stable, Galeria Lisboa, and Orient Foundation.
The exhibition also comprises seminars, workshops, and tours to encourage artists’ participation and public attendance.
ARTFEM 2020 decided to pursue with the show, but some artists could not participate due to COVID-19 restrictions, which equally impeded traveling to Macau SAR. The exhibition aims to bring to the fore urgent discourses on environmental issues, including its protection or devastation, and humanity’s relationship with nature.
The curatorial team dispersed the show to its viewers, who wander around town while searching for artworks. While the curatorial intention considered occupying and intervening in the public space, the COVID-19 crisis has provoked the exhibitions to happen solely indoors.
ARTFEM 2020 is grateful to all artists, and the hopes to – despite losses and obstacles – make a topical exhibition of global relevance.
Albergue SCM 婆仔屋文創空間
A2 Gallery, Calçada da Igreja de São Lázaro 8
A2展覽廳 – 澳門望德堂區瘋堂斜巷8號
30/09/2020 (Wednesday) at 06:30 pm
09/30/2020 – 13/12/2020
Former Municipal Cattle Stable 市政牧場舊址(牛房)展覽
87-97 Av. do Coronel Mesquita, Santo António
02/10/2020 (Friday) at 06:30pm
02/10/2020 – 05/11/2020
Galeria Lisboa 里斯本畫廊展覽
Macau Fisherman’s Wharf
05/10/2020 (Monday) at 06:30 pm
05/10/2020 – 13/12/2020
Orient Foundation 東方基金會
Praça Luís de Camões No.13
09/10/2020 (Saturday) at 06:30pm
09/10/2020 – 13/12/2020