mART is ceasing activity as of today. Here are the founding editors’ notes:
It was almost a dream come true. An online cultural magazine that bridged both our worlds — Macau (Asia) and Lisbon (Europe).
For once, we were the bosses and we could do what we wanted, how we wanted, in the way which we thought could suit our readers.
We started out sensing the market. Who are our readers? Are there readers for such a project? Slowly, they started popping by, leaving likes on our Facebook page, leaving comments, sending e-mails, even sending resumes. They existed and we were happy.
Yet, having readers is often not enough.
Even though readers do attract sustainability, they are not the only ones to generate it. So, we suddenly realised we were working for one and a half year in a project which suited our dreams, but lacked sustainability. With that being said, we had to come to the sad conclusion: it actually wasn’t a dream come true.
Then, we also observed that, even though this is Asia, there is still a lack of sensitivity for the online world. We were not recognised as official media, being left out of the regular agenda events. Not that that bothered us, but it did mean something: an online cultural magazine would always have limited growth ability.
Still, one and a half year later, we can surely say we succeeded in having sources, in being considered by readers as reliable media, in partnering up with some of the most important cultural projects in the city, some of which are independent and are also willing to reach the English-speaking world.
Some of you might ask why did we not turn into an association and asked for government subsidies. I will answer in a way I believe all of you will understand: that was not the project, that would not suit our dreams.
Anyway, I, Luciana Leitão, am signing this op-ed, but I just realised I always mention we. That’s because for me mART is all about Luciana Leitão and Sofia Jesus, two lifelong friends who suddenly had their own first joint project, bridging both their worlds. For me, mART is also about Sérgio Rola who embarked on our madness and made our dream his own dream. For me, mART is also about all our dear contributors, who believed in us and invested their time and talent.
So, as I bid you farewell, I would like to personally thank all our contributors — Clara Tehrani, Maria Caetano, Ruka Borges, Gonçalo Leitão, Catarina Domingues, João Jorge Magalhães —, who have helped us shape into what we are today. I would also like to personally thank all the artists, who contributed, for free, with their amazing works on our SHOWCASE section.
We will leave the door open. Our online page is there for everyone to see and, if circumstances change, we will be back at full speed. But, for now, this is a goodbye, hoping it becomes a see you soon, but without much certainty it will.
Aiming for mART
I remember that lazy afternoon Luciana and I were hanging out at my place, dreaming of the future. We were determined to shoot for the moon. But soon we realised the moon was not enough. We decided to aim for mART.
Soon after the idea started blooming, Sérgio Rola came along. He believed in our madness and made it his own. We were three friends starting a project together— four, if you count our bestie, Mr Coffee. We were passionate, fearless. We called ourselves mARTians.
mART was born out of some deep beliefs: that we are capable of shaping our own destiny; that Macau is a unique multicultural place that teaches us the importance of getting to know one another; that Macau’s artistic and cultural scene is rapidly developing and deserves to be both nurtured and promoted; that geography means nothing when your mind is open to beauty; and that there is a mysterious route linking Macau (Asia) and Lisbon (Europe) — a road built of stones much stronger than the heaviest brick of economic relations.
Another conviction we had was that you should first show what you are capable of before asking others to invest their money in you. And so we did. [There is one thing that you may not be aware of: everyone that contributed for mART did so without receiving any payment. We all invested our own time, passion and creativity.]
We still believe in all this.
So, what went wrong?
Maybe the market — that intangible, almighty force — was not ready yet for such a planet. A planet we could travel to through cyberspace.
Or maybe we were not ready for the market.
After a year and a half of countless sleepless nights, we are forced to recognise our project — that of an independent online magazine based in Macau and exclusively dedicated to arts and culture — is not sustainable under current circumstances.
It is a sad day to me — to us all. But it is also a day to express gratitude to all that supported us in this vertiginous ride.
Firstly, I want to thank our dearest contributors: Maria Caetano and Clara Tehrani, our Monday Sounds’ authors; João Jorge Magalhães, our graphic designer; Gonçalo Leitão, for his photographs; Rui Borges, who created a wonderful video about mART; Catarina Domingues, who shared her talent with us through a beautiful photo feature on China.
I would also like to thank all the amazing artists that shared their talent, for free, through our SHOWCASE gallery — we believe in you and we wish you all the greatest success.
Another heartfelt thank you goes to all of you, our sources, as well as all those that invited us to be their media partners.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to personally thank each and every one of you, our readers — I will miss you terribly.
You may argue our “dare-and-care” recipe for success proved to be a flop. Allow me to disagree on that. For we believe we did bridge communities, we did prove culture is borderless.
On a even more personal note: Luciana and I started this project in the year we both had babies (they were born four days apart). Some people thought we were crazy. But no. Having kids showed us that, more than ever, we needed to fight for our dreams and teach them that anything is possible if you put your heart to it. Thank you, Eduardo and Xavier, for dreaming along with us.
Now, dear mARTians — yes, dear readers, you have earned the title — it is time for farewell.
As you may know by now, I tend to always look at the glass half full. So, I can’t help hoping this is not the end of anything; just a pause. Or, perhaps, the beginning of something else. Because as my favourite poet, Fernando Pessoa, once wrote, as Ricardo Reis:
that is you exaggerates or excludes.
Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you do.
The whole moon gleams in every pool,
for it rides so high.“
And so does mART.