Suhanya Raffel, director of Hong Kong’s M+ contemporary art museum, has been announced as the next president of the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM). The committee is made up of art museum professionals around the world; its stated goal is to “raise awareness and respond to the evolving needs of modern and contemporary museums, and to take a leadership role on issues of concern.” Raffel will lead the organization for two years beginning in 2023; she succeeds Mami Kataoka, director of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, in the role.
Prior to arriving at M+ in 2019 as that institution’s director, Raffel from November 2016 was executive director of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, the body overseeing the development of Hong Kong’s arts district. From 2013 to 2016, she served as deputy director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia, having spent the previous two decades holding senior curatorial art positions at the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. A trustee of the Geoffrey Bawa Trust and the Lunuganga Trust of Sri Lanka, she is a past trustee of the Asian Art Council at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and is currently a board member of CIMAM. Raffel in 2020 was made a Chevalier in the Order des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.
“The past three years have seen much tumult and division, with the global Covid-19 pandemic adding a further degree of separation within our societies,” said Raffel in a statement. “In this context, the roles our museums play in bringing people together, with the work of artists providing necessary insight, vision, and perspective has become ever more urgent.” She asserted that “over the next three years, the CIMAM board will continue to focus on our values, bringing our members together through online forums by continuing our Rapid Response Webinars while deepening our engagement in building institutions that implement sustainability processes as we grapple with the climate crisis.”