Cover John Tain, Cosmin Costinas, Lihsin Tsai, Tobias Burger and Christopher K Ho at Para Site's gala on November 25

Para Site’s annual gala dinner and auction took place on November 25 at the St. Regis Hong Kong

Who? Cosmin Costinas, Michelle Ong, Benjamin Cha, Suhanya Raffel, Marisa Yiu, Alan Lo, William Lim 

Where? The St Regis Hong Kong

When? November 25, 2021

Here's what you missed: Like many of the best parties, art centre Para Site’s silver jubilee gala started with a shot of tequila, one of which was waiting for each guest at their seat—and which everyone downed in unison after executive director Cosmin Costinas’s rousing welcome speech. Perhaps unsurprisingly, bidding in the subsequent fundraising auction was frenzied, with collectors vying for pieces donated by leading galleries and artists. For the first time, NFTs were included: the first, an original piece by Refik Anadol, sold for HK$800,000. Halfway through bidding for the second, one of an edition of 100 by Beeple, auctioneer Jehan Chu threw in a last-minute extra. “For whoever wins this, I’ll organise an hour-long phone conversation with myself and Beeple about crypto and NFTs,” said Chu, causing several more paddles to shoot into the air. The work—and accompanying conversation—eventually sold for HK$750,000.

The biggest round of applause of the night was not for a stratospheric sales price, but for philanthropist Virginia Yee, who hosted the evening with fellow art patron Shane Akeroyd and an anonymous donor. Yee gave a moving speech about the meaning of generosity, the global challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the work carried out by Para Site, one of Asia’s leading independent art institutions. Para Site produces exhibitions, publications and a variety of educational programmes in Hong Kong and around the world, all of which support artists and curators while making art accessible to anyone who is interested—a cause all the guests at the gala were happy to get behind, with or without tequila shots.  

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