By Sofia Jesus

Macau is full of wonderful details that have inspired countless artists over countless years. It is almost a cliché to say so. And yet I do not get tired of rediscovering those little details over and over again every time I find them touched by the mastery of an artist.

The book I picked today is one that I treasure immensely — for personal reasons; and for the fact that it presents a huge collection of those little details, as seen by the author.

Macao Landscape — Chio Sio Chi Oil Painting, published in 2011 by the Macau Artist Society, gathers countless colourful oil paintings — many mini-oil paintings — created by the artist between 1981, one year after he migrated to Macau from Mainland China, and 2011.

Throughout almost 300 pages, we are taken on a 30-year journey throughout the city. I was impressed, and delighted, by the artist’s style, which presents us with magnificent oil portraits of Macau — sometimes so realistic that they resemble photographs; other times with touches that remind me of impressionism.

Lai Ieng, President of Macau Artist Society, explains — in an introduction to the album — Chio Sio Chi studied Chinese painting with his grandfather when he was very young, and, in his twenties, “became the favourite apprentice of Mr Ren Wei Yin,” a thin oil painting master from Shanghai. Chio Sio Chi learned “the essence of Point-line technique developed from Chinese painting during the frequent sketching opportunities [he had] with Mr Ren all throughout China,” Mr Lai says.

Macau’s landscape — vulnerable to the passing of time and at the same time resistant to it — is, hence, registered in this beautiful, heavy album, at the same time as Macau’s history is wordlessly told throughout its pages.

There are open-wide maritime landscapes, as there are details of iron-barred balconies. There are alleys, corners, and old fishing boats, as well as casinos, skyscrapers and neon lights. Little oil details of an ever-changing-never-changing city to rediscover again and again.

Macao Landscape — Chio Sio Chi Oil Painting

Chio Sio Chi

Macau Artist Society, 2011