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Russian-born painter adds bite to Macau art scene

In China's casino capital, Konstantin Bessmertny takes the biggest risks

"Bestiarium" -- an Indian temple lion transformed by artist Konstantin Bessmertny (Courtesy of Konstantin Bessmertny)

MACAU -- Just a few blocks from the famed Lisboa Casino hotel, in an area swamped with neon-lit advertisements for gambling, money changing and massage, lies a quiet, modestly furnished, all-white cafe. A world away from the hordes of mainland Chinese gamblers, The Garden at Tak Chun is the unofficial center of Macau's surprisingly active art scene.

The shelves of The Garden's art library are filled to the ceiling with catalogues and announcements of upcoming events. Upstairs, in a small gallery space used for exhibitions, is the headquarters of Art for All (Macau AFA), a collective founded by a handful of painters in 2007 that has expanded to include 49 members.

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