The inaugural fundraiser of National Gallery is off to a bad start, and all because of the the museum’s biennial charity event’s theme – “Empire Ball”. The reason why the theme was picked is because the fundraiser will be held during the opening week of the Gallery’s special exhibition ‘Artist and Empire: (En)countering Colonial Legacies‘, a joint collaboration with Tate Britain. The charity event will feature live auctions, where invitees can bid for exclusive items such as art pieces, private tours and airplane tickets.
A renowned Malaysian artist Yee I-Lann who is participating in the ‘Artist and Empire: (En)countering Colonial Legacies’ was so offended by the theme of the charity event that she considered pulling out of the show.
Apparently besides taking to Facebook, I-Lann also picked up the phone to talk to the Museum’s curator. The Museum assured the Malaysian artist afterwards that the event would not celebrate colonialism, but that it would be a critical examination of art in the era of the British Empire, and the issues following colonisation.
But Yee was not satisfied and pointed out the obvious flaw in having something called “The Empire Ball” in a former colonial building.
With all these brickbats, the Museum finally relented and changed the theme of the charity event.
But not before its Facebook fans expressed their disappointing with the planned theme of the event.