Photos: 2023 Asia Arts Game Changer Awards in New York
Arts visionary Swati Bhise, groundbreaking artist Tsherin Sherpa, and acclaimed musician Wu Man were honored at Asia Society’s Asia Art Game Changer Awards Gala, held at our Park Avenue headquarters on March 8, 2023. The event drew artists and art enthusiasts, collectors, gallerists, and Asia Society Trustees and other dignitaries from New York City and around the world.
The sold-out event also paid special tribute the Hon. Dr. Kevin Rudd AC, President and CEO of Asia Society, who will soon become the Australian Ambassador to the United States.
The evening began with a cocktail reception in the Garden Court, which featured live music performed by trio of Julliard students.
The reception was followed by dinner, the awards presentation, and a silent auction held in the penthouse suite. Welcoming the guests and opening the evening was Interim Vice President of Global Arts and Culture, Peggy Loar, who said: “At Asia Society policy and culture are interwoven in our mission. By placing creative expression at the center of a comprehensive knowledge of Asia and all of its aspects, we address the issues of our time.”
The evening’s honorary chair Thérèse Rein thanked the attendees for their support and for honoring her husband, Kevin Rudd, for championing Australia’s indigenous artists and giving rise to international interest in aboriginal art following his landmark National Apology speech in 2008. Rein also acknowledged the event’s Manhattan location as first being the land of the Lenape people.
Asia Society Trustee Emily Rafferty, President Emerita of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, introduced Wu Man, praising her “extraordinary career as a musician, educator, and composer giving her instrument … and raising the profile of Chinese music across the globe.” In her remarks, Wu Man spoke of her ongoing efforts to expanding her art form, noting that “from early on in this journey, Asia Society was there, giving support…and inspiring new exploration.”
In expressing thanks for his award, presented by Asia Society Trustee Lulu Wang, Tsherin Sherpa called it a true game changer for him, one that he said he hoped would also be a game changer for other Nepalese artists and would serve “to inspire an appreciation for the arts of Nepal and the Himalayan people.”
Dr. Ranjana Kumari presented the award to Swati Bhise, who noted: “Art has no religion, no gender, no walls. And once we understand that we have to fund the arts, fund artists, fund new thought….whether it’s art, music, dance, literature, women’s empowerment, it’s all one. And it’s being human, having empathy, and continuing to perform through life.”
Guests enjoyed a performance of a special excerpt from Asia Society’s major jazz commission, In the Green Room, by composer/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu and composer/pianist Sumi Tonooka.
Capping off the evening was a celebration of the contributions made by Asia Society President and CEO Kevin Rudd during his tenure. He reflected on Asia Society’s legacy in and commitment to the arts and concluded: “Having a vibrant program in arts and culture is so important for the future of not just this institution but the way we imagine our futures together as a planet.”