IlluminAsia: A Festival of Asian Art, Food, and Cultures @ Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries, Washington [14 October]

IlluminAsia: A Festival of Asian Art, Food, and Cultures

17:00 - 23:59

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Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries
1050 Independence Ave SW, Washington, District of Columbia 20560
Join us for a festival of Asian art, food, and cultures on the National Mall to celebrate the grand reopening of the Freer|Sackler. Free and open to the public, the IlluminAsia festival will transform the museums’ grounds with an Asian food market, interactive cooking and art demonstrations, live performances by members of the Silk Road Ensemble, and dozens of local and international artists. Inside, visitors can experience the reimagined galleries and innovative exhibitions, as well as performances, conversations, and other immersive activities.

IlluminAsia kicks off at 5 pm on Saturday, October 14, with the museums reopening at 6 pm. The evening program will light up the night with a sea of lanterns and light displays, stunning video projections on the Freer Gallery facade, and a night market featuring Asian food stalls, hosted in partnership with Asian American community organizations. In addition, visitors can experience video installations and DJ soundscapes. The activities and museums will be open through midnight.

Highlight Events: Saturday
• 5 pm Street food market and art making kickoff
• 5:30 pm Opening procession with Red Baraat
• 6 pm Disruption: Video Art from Asia begins
• 7 pm Curator talks begin in the museum galleries
• 7 pm Tuvan throat singers Alash Ensemble with beatboxer Shodekeh
• 8 pm Premiere of projected art on the Freer façade
• 8:30 pm Persian vocalist Mamak Khadem
• 9:30 pm Balinese shadow puppet theater
• 9:45 pm Filipino American turntablist DJ Qbert
• 11 pm Rock, funk, and bhangra by Red Baraat


Projected Art: A Perfect Harmony
Freer plaza, 8, 9:15, 10:30, and 11:45 pm
Prepare to be dazzled as the Freer’s façade transforms into a living sculpture.

Street Food Market
National Mall, 5 pm–12 am
Stroll through an open-air market to discover culinary treasures.

Savor Asia: Food Demo Tent
National Mall, 5–9 pm
Go behind the scenes to check out chefs’ ingredients and techniques.

Outdoor stages on the Freer plaza and in the Haupt Garden, 5 pm–12 am
Don’t miss performances of Punjabi brass funk, Persian trance, Asian American DJs, Tuvan throat singing, and more.

Silkroad Ensemble in Residence
Freer|Sackler and Haupt Garden, 6 pm–12 am
Catch members of the Grammy Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble performing in the museums and outdoors. Secret locations will be announced on Twitter immediately before each performance!

Opening Performance: Red Baraat
Freer plaza, 5:30 pm
Red Baraat kicks off the reopening with a gut-busting fusion of jazz, hip-hop, rock, go-go, and bhangra.

Art Making Inspired by Asia
National Mall and Haupt Garden, 5 pm–12 am
Watch artists at work, and make your own creations.

Meet the Curator
Freer|Sackler, 7–11 pm
Discover the themes and stories behind new installations and special exhibitions in these in-gallery conversations with Freer|Sackler curators.

Disruption: Video Art from Asia
Freer, Meyer Auditorium, 6pm–12am
Watch video works by Asian artists who question and reimagine the past.

For more details, visit our website at:

This event is co-presented with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival!
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