The Art Gallery of New South Wales, lit up like a Fabergé egg against a starlit night sky, provided the epic cinematic backdrop for the inaugural ArchiBall, the most exclusive (and quite possibly, most beautiful) philanthropic event this country has ever seen.
The perfect hybrid of gala dinner, art exhibition and fundraiser, 200 distinguished guests were treated to an unforgettable evening of food, wine, culture, conversation, entertainment and, of course, art, as they celebrated the 2018 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize exhibitions, and raised funds for the gallery’s student outreach and education programs in Western Sydney and greater New South Wales.
Upon arrival, guests, including Rosi Fernandez, MD of La Prairie Group, Joachim Howard of Ocean Alliance and actor David Berry, walked the red carpet and enjoyed Hendrick’s cocktails with canapes by chef Mark Olive.
It was then on to the magnificent Grand Courts – the first rooms of the Gallery to be built in 1897 – which were bathed in the softest pink light, accentuating the sheer beauty of the incredible art decorating every wall.
Surrounded by Picasso, Bacon and Soutine, the likes of this year’s Archibald Prize winner Yvette Coppersmith, Yvonne Teoh, CEO of YTD, and Peter Allen, CEO of Scentre Group, enjoyed a two-course dinner of cured kingfish and roasted lamb loin prepared by celebrity chef Matt Moran.
The outstanding food was complemented by the free-flowing conversation and Champagne, before the unexpected arrival of electric violinist Jane Cho stopped guests in their tracks. Weaving her way through the crowd, she entertained with an incredible performance that included a mash-up of some the greatest Australian rock songs. Moët, Modigliani and AC/DC – what more could one ask for?
A dessert of rhubarb meringue tarts and marshmallow mouthfuls were later served with a side order of house music as DJ Luke Million playing everything from Donna Summer to Daft Punk to an ecstatic crowd at the after party.
It was the kind of evening anyone present is unlikely to forget, begging the question, ‘How on earth are they going to top that next year?’