The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art has announced the headline performers for its main-stage centennial celebration, the culmination of a major two-week festival. Internationally acclaimed singer-songwriters Eric Nam and Raveena will perform Saturday, May 13. The performances will take place on the museum’s stage in the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building and be broadcast to visitors on the National Mall and Freer Plaza. Performances will be free to the public, but tickets will be required to enter the Arts and Industries Building.
The National Museum of Asian Art marks its 100th anniversary in 2023, and it is commemorating its centennial with a yearlong series of events and programs that deepen understanding of Asian art and cultures. The activities, organized around the theme of “Journeys,” highlight the larger transformation of the museum into an institution engaging new audiences globally and locally.
A cornerstone of these activities is its Asian Pacific American Heritage Festival, the National Museum of Asian Art’s first large-scale festival in recognition of this heritage month. From May 1–13, the museum and its surroundings will be transformed into a celebration of Asian arts and cultures. Programming highlights of the festival include its main-stage centennial celebration; the Washington premiere of acclaimed composer Huang Ruo’s oratorio Angel Island, presented in partnership with Washington Performing Arts and the United States Air Force Band; a 1920s silent film with live accompaniment by Min Xiao-Fen; activations by Shared Studios; an Asian food and artisan market; and more.
“The National Museum of Asian Art is a space where a wide range of visitors can come together to celebrate Asian cultures and their intersection with America,” said Chase F. Robinson, Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. “Eric Nam and Raveena are two of the biggest names in music today. Raised in the U.S. and inspired by their respective backgrounds, these artists embrace Korean and Indian influences as means of experimentation and self-expression and truly embody the Asian American experience. We are delighted to welcome them to the mainstage during our centennial celebrations.”
A global sensation with more than 600 million cumulative streams, Nam grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Boston College before landing his break on a Korean audition program. Since debuting as a K-pop artist in 2012, Nam has released five projects and solidified himself as one of the most popular and recognizable celebrities in Asia—named GQ Korea’s “Man of the Year” and counted on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list—and one of the most extensive touring solo Asian acts in the world. In 2022, he independently released his highly anticipated all-English sophomore album, There and Back Again. For Nam, its meaning is layered, reflecting his experience of feeling like a foreigner no matter where he is, the highs and lows of relationships, and the journey Nam took relocating from Atlanta to Korea and returning home again.
Indian American Raveena is a highly creative, dynamic, and spiritual artist who aims to build fully realized worlds within each of her projects—conceptual experimentations in sound, threaded together by stories of healing and self-realization. Her latest offering, Asha’s Awakening, takes listeners on an epic journey into Indian culture. An homage to her heritage as a first-generation descendant of genocide survivors and Reiki healers, the album incorporates influences from Bollywood and celebrated Indian artists like R.D. Burman and Asha Bhosle as well as Western music—specifically R&B, rock, and soul—melding the genres prevalent throughout Raveena’s catalog into one cohesive body of work. Asha’s Awakening has received accolades from critics at Pitchfork, The Guardian, NPR, and The Rolling Stone, who included it among “The 100 Best Albums of 2022.”
Full details on the National Museum of Asian Art’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Festival and Mainstage Centennial Celebration will be announced in the coming months. Follow @NatAsianArt for updates.