ARTFEM 2020, the second edition of the International Women Biennial of Art of Macau SAR, revolves around the theme Natura. By adopting a thematical strategy, the curatorial team pursued two intents: one, it aimed at 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 environment crisis to the foreground. As such, while Natura reflects women’s relationship with nature, it equally procures to acknowledge various acts of social agency that have been and are being practiced by women.
Natura constitutes an act of resistance: conceptually set to open on Women’s International Day – March 8 – every other year, the second edition was postponed due to the emergence of 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.
But 2020 has been a difficult year and continues to be. The culture sector has suffered tremendously: the Olympic Games, set to happen in Japan, were postponed to 2021; all sports events that went on, happened without public. Art fairs, including the neighboring Hong Kong Art Basel, were cancelled. Some, few, exhibitions worldwide were inaugurated, but participating artists did not attend the openings. Museums closed for several months, and most music festivals were cancelled. As such, making an exhibition in the end of 2020 constitutes an act of resistance and resilience.
ARTFEM 2020 decided to pursue with its intention, but the exhibition suffered changes: some artists, finding themselves in lockdown, never had the opportunity to finish their works. Others had to remake their works entirely because traveling to Macau SAR was restricted. And others were caught in the indirect consequences of lockdown, specifically the economic instability that equally affected this edition. ARTFEM 2020 wishes to thank these artists, all indirect victims of this global pandemic, for their interest in the show. The organization hopes to – despite these irretrievable losses – make a topical exhibition, and one of global relevance.
The President of the Organizing Committee
Architect Carlos Marreiros