|Media only: Ellie Reynolds, 202.633.0521; Elizabeth Bridgforth, 202.633.0521
Public only: 202.633.1000
The Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’s annual fund-raising gala inaugurates the two-year “Celebration of India” on the National Mall Wednesday, April 30. This showcase of India’s rich artistic and cultural legacy highlights two exhibitions: “MURAQQA’: Imperial Mughal Albums from the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin” and “Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur.” The Honorable Ronen Sen, ambassador of India to the United States will be present, as well as His Highness Gaj Singh II, the Maharaja of Marwar-Jodhpur, India, who is the special guest for the evening. The Tata Group of India is the corporate chair of the gala.
The gala opens with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony and includes a black-tie, sit-down dinner, followed by entertainment in the Freer courtyard by Glen Pearson Productions and musical performances on the Asian santoor and sitar instruments throughout the evening by Roya Bahrami and Alif Laila. Funds raised at the gala will benefit the galleries by supporting the exhibitions “MURAQQA'” and “Garden and Cosmos,” ImaginAsia family workshops and other public programs that highlight the art and culture of Asia.
“MURAQQA’,” on view May 3-Aug. 3, features 86 Mughal paintings and manuscripts commissioned by Emperors Jahangir (1605-1627) and Shah Jahan (1627-1658) from the renowned collections of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland. More than 250 guests from across the globe, including senior government officials, members of Congress, business leaders and leading patrons of the international art world, will have a private viewing of this remarkable collection of jewel-like masterpieces.
Private events for the “Celebration of India” resume Oct. 16, with a grand dinner commemorating the opening of “Garden and Cosmos” and “India! A Festival of Lights,” a multifaceted festival that takes place Oct. 17-19 and features traditional music from the Jodhpur region, gallery talks and tours, storytelling and ImaginAsia family workshops.
Individual tickets for the gala start at $1,500. Sponsorships, beginning at $10,000, include a table for eight guests; invitations to “Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur” opening events Oct. 16; recognition in Asiatica, the Freer and Sackler’s award-winning magazine; and recognition in the gala program.
For more information, visit asia.si.edu/events/2008Gala.htm or contact the Freer and Sackler’s office of special events at (202) 633-0417.
The Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Ave. S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day, except Dec. 25, and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information about the Freer and Sackler galleries and their exhibitions, programs and other events, the public is welcome to visit asia.si.edu. For general Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000 or TTY (202) 633-5285.