Photography features prominently this year as more artists are exploring this medium.
- Ms Pinkstone
HOW does Singapore art hold up against its regional counterparts? Decide for yourself at an exhibition of works by South-east Asian artists which kicked off yesterday at the Espace Louis Vuitton gallery.
The artists - from Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar - are all South-east Asian finalists in The Sovereign Asian Art Prize.
In all, 20 works were selected by an international panel from over 300 shortlisted works from more than 25 countries. The judges for the 2012-13 prize are David Elliott, adviser to the Central Police Station, Hong Kong (chair); Emi Eu, director of Singapore Tyler Print Institute; Tim Marlow, director of White Cube gallery; Lars Nittve, executive director of M+, Hong Kong's future museum for visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District; and Philip Tinari, director of the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing.
Of the six Singapore artists, four were finalists before, says Tiffany Pinkstone, spokeswoman for the Hong Kong-based art prize established in 2003. They are Terence Lin, Joon Kiat, Ong Hui Har and Zhao Renhui, whose works were submitted directly for the prize as they were past nominees, while the works by Betty Susiarjo and Ang Song Nian were newly nominated. Each judge then gives a score to the works.
Now in its ninth year, The Sovereign Asian Art Prize is the largest award for the arts in Asia, with a fund of US$30,000.
The winning work, by MAP Office, a Hong Kong-based duo, was announced a month ago. Now the works by finalists and runners-up are being exhibited in Korea and Singapore.
What's different for Singapore this year is the regional exhibition and auction, explains Ms Pinkstone. "Previously we would have a Singapore show with 20 Singapore-based artists who are runners-up. But this time we made Singapore the South-east Asian base for the Foundation."
Because Singapore has a diaspora of South-east Asians, this opens up the prize further and gives a broader outlook to regional art, she adds.
Photography features prominently this year, notes Ms Pinkstone, as more artists are exploring this medium. Still, this year's works reflect a wide range of artistic themes.
The month-long exhibition will culminate in a gala dinner in May, when the works will be auctioned off to raise money for charity.
The money raised at The Sovereign Art Foundation auction this year will continue to fund arts programmes run by M'Lop Tapang in Sihanoukville, Cambodia and by Kalki in Pondicherry, India. Both these programmes assist children who are victims of sex or drug abuse, orphaned or in desperate need.
Proceeds of the Singapore auction will go to the Seeing is Believing charity, a global initiative that aims to eliminate avoidable blindness and a collaboration between Standard Chartered Bank and the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness.
The March 14-April 17 Sovereign Asian Art Prize's exhibition will be held at Espace Louis Vuitton, Marina Bay Sands