Alexander Skarsgård, Pharrell Williams, Heidi Klum, Kyle Maclachlan, and Michelle Yeoh were among those who gathered at the fifth annual amfAR Gala Hong Kong at the newly opened Rosewood Hong Kong to honor renowned entrepreneur and change-maker Adrian Cheng for his exceptional contributions to the global struggle against HIV/AIDS.
Pansy Ho, a leading supporter of the gala since its inception in 2015 and an influential figure in the Hong Kong and international business community, served as Honorary Chair of this year’s event. Presented by APM Monaco and Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, the gala raised over $2.75 million for amfAR’s life-saving AIDS research programs. American Express, Champagne Perrier-Jouët and Absolut Elyx were Signature Sponsors. Wines were provided courtesy of Boroli.
Other guests in attendance included Choi Jin Hyuk, Ha Ji-Won, Paulo Pong and Sonia Cheng, Martin and Cathy Lee, Chris and Victoria Tang-Owen, Alan and Michelle Cheng-Chan, Dee Poon, Emily Lam, Harris Chan, Pierre Png, Carina Lau, Fiona Xie, Jonathan Wong, Kit Chan, Andrew Pong, Kevin Woo, Ken Bek, and many others.
Michelle Yeoh and Pierre Png opened the evening, welcoming guests and recognizing them for their dedicated support of amfAR in Hong Kong. Alexander Skarsgård joined them onstage to speak about amfAR’s lifesaving research that is “focused almost exclusively on developing a cure for HIV that so many have dreamed of for so long.”
Skarsgård introduced amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost, who thanked event sponsors and donors before discussing the central role amfAR played in the recent case of the London patient, a man who has no evidence of HIV in his body following a stem cell transplant. He shared that while the case is complex, it provides invaluable new insights “that we can apply to the development of a cure that can be administered to everyone who needs it.” Frost explained that the London patient is one of more than 40 patients in amfAR’s research cohort, and the case could prove that the cure of the Berlin patient, Timothy Brown, over a decade ago was not “just a one-off.” He expressed profound gratitude to guests for their generosity, emphasizing that “the line from this amfAR Gala to the London patient and to all the others that will surely follow is a direct one.”
Past amfAR honoree Cathy Lee took the stage to introduce prominent gallerist Rachel Lehmann and Grammy Award-winning global superstar Pharrell Williams. Lehmann and Pharrell presented the amfAR Award of Courage to Adrian Cheng, discussing his many charitable pursuits and sharing that his vision, diverse range of passions, and his “heart to empower local communities” make him a “real changemaker.”
Upon accepting his award, Adrian Cheng expressed that he was deeply honored by the recognition. He urged others to support amfAR’s research efforts, emphasizing that “through the collective power of the human imagination, especially by mobilizing the next generation and embracing the power of innovation, culture, and creativity, we can all play our part to solve our world’s most challenging health issues.”
The evening also featured spectacular live performances. Grammy Award-nominated singer Nicole Scherzinger had the crowd dancing with hits such as “Buttons,” “Don’t Cha,” and “Don’t Hold Your Breath.” Lay Zhang, the highest charting Mandopop musical artist in Billboard history, performed “Perfume”.
Guests enjoyed bidding on exclusive items during the live auction, conducted by Simon De Pury and Shally Lin. In addition to the live auction, a work of performance art will be completed live by Bernar Venet on March 29, 2019. The piece, titled The Steel Bar and the Pictorial Memory of the Gesture, will be sold by Sotheby’s with proceeds benefitting amfAR.
Auction highlights included:
Night Flight, a silkscreen ink and oil painting on canvas by Eddie Martinez, sold for $260,000
Erwin Wurm’s sculpture, Kastenmann Black, courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, sold for $180,000
Chen Man’s photograph Long Live the Motherland Beijing,4
Blush, a work of synthetic hair extensions on wood by Hrafnhildur Arnadóttir/Shoplifter
Bust, a concrete, painted bronze, and painted urethane sculpture by Tony Matelli
Balance (No. 1), an oil on canvas painting by Cecilia Chung
Heidi Klum auctioned off 18 karat rose and blackened gold earrings with 32 carat pink and purple sapphires by Lorraine Schwartz
A lenticular lightbox photograph of Kate Moss by Chris Levine
Blue Tree, an oil on canvas painting by Zhang Enli
Apollo 11, an oil on linen painting by Michael Kagan
A five-night stay for two at Paradise City with a Korean celebrity meet and greet
Mick Jagger in Montauk, a photograph by Christopher Makos
Kyle MacLachlan auctioned off a dinner party at a Michelin star restaurant and two-night stay for ten guests at one of three legendary properties—Rosewood Hong Kong, The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel in New York City, or Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel in Paris—with some of the world’s rarest and most sought-after wines provided by amfAR Trustee Edward Milstein.
Event Chairs included Sonia Cheng, Cathy Lee, Alexander Skarsgård, Henry Golding, Kyle MacLachlan, Pharrell Williams, Heidi Klum, Kika Prette, and Michelle Yeoh. Co-Chairs included Achille Boroli, Elizabeth Chun, Milutin Gatsby, Philippe Guettat, Susanna Lee, Rachel Lehmann, David Maupin, Victoria Tang-Owen and Chris Owen, Dee Poon, Budi Tek, Rebecca Wei, and Yvette Yung.
amfAR Gala Hong Kong is produced by Andrew Boose/AAB Productions and Josh Wood/Josh Wood Productions.
In 2001, amfAR launched TREAT Asia, a cooperative network of clinics, hospitals, and research institutions working together with civil society to ensure the safe and effective delivery of HIV/AIDS treatments across Asia and the Pacific. TREAT Asia now encompasses 21 adult and 20 pediatric clinical sites across the region.