Organised by the Cultural Affairs Bureau and co-organised by Casa de Portugal in Macao, the exhibition From East to West – The Wonderful World of Puppets is now open to the public at Tap Seac Gallery. This event showcases more than 140 puppets from the collection of Portuguese puppetry specialist Elisa Vilaça. The collection has been amassed since the 1980s and gathers puppets from many parts of the world including Mainland China, Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand, as well as the United Kingdom, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Brazil. It offers visitors a more complete understanding of this traditional craft through the varied approaches taken by artisans with diverse cultural backgrounds.
Born in 1955 in Porto, Portugal, Elisa Vilaça has a Master’s Degree in Portuguese Studies with a speciality in History and is currently studying for her doctoral degree in Museology. Over the last 30 years, her professional career has been related to education, and puppets have always served as an educational tool in her teaching. Having resided in Macao between 1982 and 2002, she returned to the territory in October 2011 to implement a project of her design for the creation of a “Macao Puppet Museum”. The origins of her puppet collection can be traced back to her childhood, when the fascination she felt seeing these inanimate objects come to life began. She hopes this exhibition will impart to the public a better and broader understanding of this ancient tradition.
The exhibition route takes visitors “from East to West”, highlighting the development of the puppet craft with a view to the historical, cultural and geographical backgrounds of the various countries of origin. It introduces exhibition-goers to the various types of puppets – glove, string, rod and shadow – produced through the integration of painting and sculptural techniques and using a comprehensive range of materials. The exhibition treats these objects as a bridge between the various cultures of our world, stimulating the creativity and imagination of viewers.
Present at the opening ceremony, that took place Friday the 17th, were the Deputy Director of the Department of Education and Culture of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao S.A.R., Zhang Xiaoguang; the Deputy Director-General of the International Organizations and Legal Affairs Department of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the Macao S.A.R., Zhang Yunfei; the President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao S.A.R. Government, Ung Vai Meng; the President of the Casa de Portugal in Macao, Maria Amélia António; and the puppet collector of this exhibition, Maria Elisa da Rocha Vilaça.
Together with this exhibition, a finger puppet workshop will be available for ages 16 or above, on August 23rd and 24th, from 3pm to 5pm, at Casa de Portugal’s studio at Avenida do Dr. Francisco Vieira Machado, Edf. Industrial Nam Fung 13/D. A finger puppet performance will also be held at Tap Seac Gallery on August 25th, at 7pm. For more information and registration, please call 8399 6699 during office hours.
The exhibition From East to West – The Wonderful World of Puppets runs until October 14th at Tap Seac Gallery, daily from 10am to 7pm. Admission is free.