Marian art exhibition highlights Macau’s devotion to Mary

Marco Carvalho

Popular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is an important, universal ecclesial phenomenon, and Macau is no exception. The newly-renovated premises of the Macau Catholic Culture Association on Rua Formosa, will hold, until the end of the month, the Litaniae Lauretanae exhibition, an artistic event based on the different titles of the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The art display showcases more than a dozen Marian-inspired paintings and artifacts, Joni Cheng, the executive director of the Catholic Culture Association told O Clarim.

“The exhibition will take place in the association’s venue from May 6 to May 31.  It brings together 12 artworks and artifacts, such as paintings and hand-drawn book covers, dating from the 1950’s,” Joni Cheng explained.

“Two of the paintings on display – two oil paintings – date back to the 16th century. These are the oldest paintings in the diocese’s collection. Visitors will also find another oil painting dating from the 17th century. Usually, these works of art adorn the walls of the Bishop’s Palace, so this is a unique opportunity for the general public to appreciate them,” the executive director added.

Inaugurated last Saturday, the new exhibition is one of the events that the Macau Catholic Culture Association will organize until the end of the month to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. For several centuries now, the Catholic Church has set aside the entire month of May in dedication to Mary, the Mother of God. In addition to the Litaniea Lauretanea art exhibition, the organization will also hold four handicraft workshops and a sacred music recital. On May 20, Ave Maria Garden – a Hong Kong-based Catholic Charity – will teach participants how to prepare floral arrangements. A week later, on May 27, the premises of the Catholic Culture Association will host two Rosary workshops. Miranda Ho, an experienced instructor in rosary making, will teach the participants to make their own rosary using wood that comes from olive trees grown in Jerusalem.

Month of Mary Celebration: Art, Workshops, and Sacred Music

  • May 6-31: Litaniae Lauretanae Exhibition. Venue: Macau Catholic Culture Association premises on Rua Formosa.
  • May 20: Floral Arrangements Workshop. Instructor: Ave Maria Garden (a Hong Kong-based Catholic Charity). Venue: Macau Catholic Culture Association premises on Rua Formosa.
  • May 27: Rosary Workshops (Two sessions). Instructor: Miranda Ho (experienced instructor in rosary making). Venue: Macau Catholic Culture Association premises on Rua Formosa.
  • May 28: Sacred Music Recital by Vivian Ng. Performers: Vivian Ng Wai Hang and Sam In Lao. Venue: Saint Joseph’s Seminary Church.

“We are going to inaugurate our new multi-purpose venue with a workshop on floral arrangements and a second one on rosary making,” Joni Cheng disclosed.

Founded in 2018, the Macau Catholic Culture Association has organized more than a dozen large-scale exhibitions and initiatives over the last five years, demonstrating that there is space and interest in Macau for artistic events of a Catholic nature.

Soon after the Chinese New Year, the association’s premises at Rua Formosa was the subject of major expansion works to accommodate an increasing number of cultural events. The ongoing development rehabilitated and expanded the venue’s capacity by adding an extra floor. The aim of the expansion was to provide the Macau Catholic Culture Association with logistical conditions to promote other types of cultural initiatives, such as lectures and workshops.

The association will conclude the celebrations of May, the Month of Mary, on Sunday, the 28th, with a sacred music recital featuring Vivian Ng. The concert, which will take place at Saint Joseph’s Seminary Church, will feature various Marian hymns, performed by Vivian Ng Wai Hang and Sam In Lao. The highlight of the concert will be the world premiere of Stabat Mater Dolorosa, composed especially for A Mystical Rose, a sacred music recital by Viola Yuen, resident composer of the Saint Pius X Music Academy.