Cover From left: Angelica Cheung, Neil Shen, Christine Ip, Adrian Cheng, Bernard Chan, Betty Fung, Winnie Chiu, Michel Lamunière, Catherine Kwai, Suhanya Raffel, Danny Yeung and Alan Lau (Photo: Kenneth Tang/Tatler Hong Kong)

On November 7, hundreds of Hong Kong’s most impactful, influential and stylish attended the 2022 M+ Gala Presented by Tatler

The event was held at Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District. The one-of-a-kind fundraiser championed creativity and culture, and was a celebration of Hong Kong’s unwavering resilience in the face of challenges. The Herzog & de Meuron-designed M+ building took centre stage for M+ Gala Presented by Tatler, an exclusive black-tie soirée, which brought together the city’s most notable figures.

Among the sea of influential personalities were Adrian Cheng, CEO and executive vice chairman of New World Development and chairman of the gala, and co-chair Michel Lamunière, CEO of Tatler Asia. The event’s founding chairs are Winnie Chiu, chairman of Agora Hospitality Group; Christine Ip, CEO of Greater China of United Overseas Bank; Catherine Kwai, founder of Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery; Alan Lau, vice chairman of M+; and Daryl Ng, deputy chairman of Sino Group, all of whom share a passion to help conserve and celebrate the city’s creativity and visual culture.

“The M+ museum marks its first anniversary this month and, in the short time since its inception, established itself as one of the leading cultural institutions in Asia, reflecting Hong Kong’s east-west cultural status,” Cheng said to applause. “Thank you for your ongoing dedication to ensuring events such as tonight continue to propel Hong Kong’s art and culture scene forward.”

The event was themed Light & Life, and the glowing lights and forest green flora around the museum amplified the incredible architecture and symbolised the unwavering strength of Hong Kong. The evening’s highlights included an exclusive private viewing of M+’s first special exhibition with world-renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama days before it was opened to the public on November 12. 1945 to Now included 200 works of art by Kusama loaned by museums and private collectors, making the exhibition the largest retrospective of the artist’s work in Asia outside Japan. 

Above The M+ Gala Presented by Tatler

“The inaugural M+ Gala presented by Tatler will provide our esteemed guests with an unforgettable experience, by bringing the best of Asia’s fine dining, art and performance under one roof,” said Lamunière. And an unforgettable experience it was, sponsored by HSBC, Chopard, Hennessy, Veuve Clicquot and Grand Hyatt. The red carpet was rolled out to welcome VIPs including Martin Lau, Purviz Shroff, Derek Tsang, Ronnie C Chan and Nicolas Aguzin for an evening championing art, purpose and glamour.

After viewing the exhibition, guests were treated to an electrifying performance by the City Contemporary Dance Company, which was followed by a culinary adventure curated by Gaggan Anand, who made his name through innovative Indian cuisine at his legendary eponymous restaurant in Bangkok, and the highly acclaimed Augustin Balbi of Andō, who combines his Argentinian roots with his experience and skills honed in Japan. Dishes included kombujime-cured scallops bathed in a cold coconut curry leaf sauce and Gaggan’s famous Lick It Up! dish—which encouraged A-listers to pick up their dinner plates and lick every morsel of food off them (social media gold, some might say). With support from the dining team at the Grand Hyatt, each course was an explosion of flavour and a feast for the senses.

Suhanya Raffel and M+ museum chairman Bernard Chan made touching speeches. The biggest applause of the night came for Donnie Yen, who was the recipient of the Chaplin Award, presented by Chopard. The Chaplin Award goes to an actor or filmmaker whose work embodies Charles Chaplin’s qualities of realism, diversity and courage within their craft. Previous recipients include Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep and most recently, Cate Blanchett. On hand to deliver the award was none other than Kiera Chaplin, granddaughter of the legendary actor. “My grandfather’s films were silent and therefore style and movement were extremely important in telling a story. Tonight’s recipient is not only a great actor, but he has some of the best moves seen on screen. Donnie Yen’s career in film embodies Hong Kong’s can-do spirit and the qualities of craftsmanship that Chaplin Award winners share. His mastery of martial arts epitomises his dedication to visual storytelling, which has made him a leading figure in Chinese action cinema,” said Chaplin.

The evening came to a crescendo during the live auction, spearheaded by beloved chairman of Phillips in Asia,  Jonathan Crockett. With bellies full of food and copious amounts of wine, paddles were raised to bid for the unique experiences on the auction block. Lots included a two-night stay at the private castle Mauensee, home of Dr Uli Sigg and Rita Sigg, and a private tour of the Herzog & De Meuron Kabinett archive space in Basel; a four-day journey to Yayoi Kusama’s hometown Matsumoto; and a private tour of the HSBC vault, followed by a four-hands Michelin-starred dinner atop the HSBC headquarters in Central.  HK$ 17.5 million was raised by the gala, which will go towards M+’s public exhibitions and learning programmes for the coming year and will help showcase Hong Kong as a centre for international cultural exchange.

Kusama, who was overseas at the time of the event, sent a personal note to guests which was shared by Raffel: “I have always cried out to everyone: love forever! My constant and heartfelt prayer is that people of this world will forge a path through and beyond the quagmire of war and terror, hatred and sorrow. I seek to benefit society through the foundation stone that is my wholehearted pursuit of truth in art. Today, too, with every fibre of my being I continue the fight. Today and tomorrow, I want to keep on living. Let us all join together in singing our hearts out, for the cosmos, in praise of humanity!” Her words echoed through the museum and though Kusama wasn’t able to be attend the gala in person, her presence was strongly felt throughout the entire evening.

Glamorous performances by musician Kiri T, jazz pianist Joyce Cheung and DJ Daryll Griggs rounded out the evening, setting the stage for a new Hong Kong, filled with hope and dotted with magic.

Now Read:

You’ve Heard of Yayoi Kusama—Here’s Why You Should Care

The Best Moments from the 2022 M+ Gala Presented by Tatler

A Look Inside the Yayoi Kusama Private Viewing at M+ Gala Presented by Tatler

  • PhotographyKenneth Tang
  • VideographyNazareth Lee
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