This morning, I dropped by Artspace@Helutrans (aka that big space beside Valentine Willie Fine Art Singapore) to check out the 2010 Sovereign Asian Art Prize exhibition, which officially opens tonight.
Quick background: the annual regional art contest, which is on its eighth year, is organized by the Hong Kong-based Sovereign Art Foundation. Works from artists in the Asia Pacific region are nominated and the finalists are chosen by a panel of judges (this year it’s SAM’s Tan Boon Hui, Sydney Biennale’s creative director David Elliott, Mori Museum and ex-Singapore Biennale honcho Fumio Nanjo, Chinese artist Xu Bing, Shanghai Tang founder David Tang and Kowloon Cultural District project CEO Graham Sheffield..
The exhibition then tours (HK, Beijing, and this year Singapore and Australia) before an auction/charity dinner where one of it bags the US$25,000 prize and the rest are auctioned off.
The nice thing about it of course is that the proceeds are split between the artist and the Foundation, which uses it for art therapy projects in the region, including Cambodia, India, Vietnam, etc.
So anyway, the works of the 30 finalists are up. Quite a nice quality batch of 2D works too.
Five of them are from Singapore.
John Clang’s Time / Chinatown
Kit Tan Juat Lee’s The Heart Sutra
Ong Hui Har’s Dote
Ian Woo’s Tonight We Will Hear The Sound Of Their Voices
Lee Wen’s Splash! Series #1
And here are a couple of other interesting ones.
Witness From Baghdad 1 from Halim Al-Karim of Iraq.
After A Hard Day’s Work (Jihadi Gangster Photo Series) by Amanullah Mojadidi from Afghanistan. Note, ahem, the detached prosthetic leg.
Comfort Zone by Aditya Novali of Indonesia. It’s actually just one piece but comprising 16 steel bars that you can rotate. So depending on your mood, you can play around with the different configurations and have a different painting every week or something. That’s at least four paintings in one. Do I hear Singaporeans going “value for money?”
But it’s not just the 30 finalist works that are up. There’s also, for the first time, a local version of SAAP being organised by non-profit group Art Outreach Singapore. There are 20 of the works being exhibited (i.e. after 5 Singapore finalists, the next 20 local or locally-based artists in the shortlist). They’ll be auctioned off too, with proceeds going to Art Outreach’s own educational efforts.
One of the best here, IMHO, is Anthropometry Revision 1, another of Lee Wen’s works (some of the finalists also have works in the Singapore SAAP side).
I actually find this more powerful than the other one. But of course, his Yellow Man series is quite iconic.
The twin-exhibition is up until Oct 29. (And while you’re there, don’t forget to check out Chang Fee Ming’s exhibition Visage at VWFA too). It’s sketches he drew while tagging along at Tsai Ming Liang’s shoot of his not-so-recent movie Visage at the Louvre a couple of years ago. The director’s dropping by as well at some point.
As for the auctions, you’ve got time to save up. The works by the 20 Singapore artists will be auctioned in December at Marina Bay Sands, and the main one will be in January in Hong Kong. For enquiries about the former, click here, for the latter, here.