Now Reading
Girls of Energy 2023: The M+’s Suhanya Raffel Displays on The 12 months That Was

Girls of Energy 2023: The M+’s Suhanya Raffel Displays on The 12 months That Was

2023 was one of the most successful years since the opening of the M+ Museum, here its director Suhanya Raffel shares her biggest achievements from the past 12 months and tells us what she’s looking forward to in 2024.

As director of M+, 2023 was the year in which Suhanya Raffel’s vision for the museum came to full fruition, when it welcomed international visitors for the first time. Here she shares her pride in witnessing the role the M+ plays within the community and why she’s even more committed to creating an institution that, above all, serves the public.

How would you describe your 2023?

I think 2023 was the most important year since opening the museum because at long last we welcomed the world, including our architects, for the first time in March. It’s also been one of the most successful years for the museum in terms of traffic. We’ll find out at the end of December 2023 what our eventual visitor numbers will be. Even with the restrictions during Covid, we were already very successful; this year we’re at a whole other level of success.

M+’s second anniversary on 12 November 2023 (Image: Winnie Yeung @ Visual Voices, Courtesy of M+, Hong Kong)

What were your biggest achievements in the past 12 months?

Firstly, having our architects Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Wim Walschap and Ascan Mergenthaler come to Hong Kong and see the M+ building, which they designed and we worked on together for so many years, and witnessing how proud they felt.

Secondly, for me personally, delivering an institution for our community and seeing how they own it and the way people move through it. I find it wonderful to see the formal and informal uses of the building. It’s used as a backdrop for photographs by young couples who are getting married, as well as by students on their graduation day.

Thirdly, I’m proud that the touring arm of the M+ has begun. Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now was curated and produced in Hong Kong before touring to the Guggenheim Bilbao, where it achieved the highest visitor numbers in the museum’s 20-year history.

I also feel extremely proud of what our staff members do together. This has to be an achievement. Keeping people here makes all of us feel and understand the meaning of a truly public institution. As we work together towards a singular goal of being a global institution for Hong Kong, I feel myself as an intrinsic part of this team.

What was your secret of success in the past year?

Having a happy life with my children, their partners and now a granddaughter. My family makes a huge difference to my sense of belonging outside of my professional world.

I think the secret for the passionate M+ team is a common belief in what we do – and I hope I’m able to articulate and hold what that means as an emblem for all of us. I believe that collectively we can achieve so much more than on an individual level.

Surroundings of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao filled with polka dots (Image: José Miguel Llano )

Were there any challenges you had to overcome this year?

There’ve been many challenges but, above all, the financial ones have been significant. I’m constantly thinking about how to manage these with the support of philanthropists across the private and corporate sectors. I’m grateful to our development team, who’ve been doing incredible work.

See Also

What lessons did you learn this year?

I learned that patience, persistence and passion always make it in the end. I think it’s important to be extremely passionate about what you do, while also being patient and persuasive.

What advice would you give last year’s self?

Never give up. This is something I’m always talking to my colleagues and my global counterparts about. We all have different kinds of challenges in different parts of the world. Cultural institutions, including museums, are more important now than ever before. We’re places that hold very important meaning for our communities and we must continue to believe in the purpose of these institutions and what they deliver. So, we must never give up.

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

I think it will be a fabulous year for M+, because our programme will really start to flow through in the way we imagined and envisaged it would from the start. We’ve been able to secure a broad funding base and deliver a very calibrated exhibition programme, including the Venice Biennale presentation of Hong Kong artist Trevor Yeung. We’re now in our third year of operation and it’s taken that long to arrive at this point. It takes time to make substantial achievements, but I’m feeling very good about next year.

Source: Prestige Online

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Copyright © MetaMedia™ Capital Inc, All right reserved

Scroll To Top