Valkyrie Octopus Art Installation by Joana Vasconcelos – Homecoming to MGM MACAU with Cultural Treasures

  • Exhibition Dates: From now until further notice
  • Time:24 hours
  • Location: Grande Praça, MGM MACAU

The installation art Valkyrie Octopus was created by renowned Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos commissioned especially for MGM MACAU in 2015. It is also the artist’s largest piece of her Valkyrie series to date. Its Valkyries collection was inspired by Norse mythology. Valkyries flew through the skies, across the battlefield to choose the most valiant of warriors. Likewise, the elongated arms of Valkyrie Octopus resemble the tentacles of the Octopus grow from the main body of the installation and extend outwards to reach the Aquarium at the Grande Praça as if they were embracing the square and exchanging cultures. Traveled along the Maritime Silk Road, Valkyrie Octopus at MGM MACAU explored auspicious essences from all over the world. It was exhibited at various significant art exhibitions such as La Biennale di Venezia and brought back multiple best wishes from different cultures, as if a mascot returning and shinning with honor. The Chinese title of the work, Animated Dragon with Eight Faces, incorporates the blessing of affluence as the Chinese number of eight is a homonym for “wealthy”, and with a splendid blossoming wishing tree lit up by more than 1,000 LED lights, carrying the wishes of guests.

Valkyrie Octopus patches more than 4,000m of fabric with various colors and patterns, which is inspired by the Chinese tradition of patching pieces of fabric from hundreds of families, gathering blessings and wishes, as a prayer for comfort and bliss for our guests. Traditionally, the Chinese dragon is a symbol of fortune and prosperous health. The "canopy of glitters" with its luxurious gold and silver colors oozes celestial extravagance as if it were a gift from heaven. In addition, the fabrics in Valkyrie Octopus are decorated with the traditional embroidery technique of Nisa from Portugal, a craft that is passed down through generations of brides-to-be to fund their new families, hence a symbol of love in full bloom and perfect happiness. The upper part of the work was inspired by the costume of the French Can-can dance, manifesting festivity and vitality. It is also embellished with thousands of beads placed in a patchwork of patterns, shapes, and textures, bringing out layers and layers of infinite details.

On the ground, three Tetris of different structures created with contemporary Portuguese Azulejo (painted tin-glazed ceramic tilework) craftsmanship showcase the intricate art of Arabesque patterns, which in traditional Chinese art and craft symbolize wishes for health and longevity. Visitors are welcome to sit on the Tetris and explore hidden lucky symbols while immersing in the sculpture and architectural aesthetics of the Grande Praça.

Since its return in 2019, Valkyrie Octopus is exhibited on a long-term basis at the Grande Praça, expressing eastern and western cultures including but not limited to fortune, family wellbeing, love, health, and career, embracing well wishes for all aspects of life, radiating luck and fortune to every corner in MGM MACAU. It also celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the 20th anniversary of Macao's return to China, looking forward to a great future.

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