Solidarity through Solitude secures the 2020 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year title for Indonesia


2020 UOB Painting of the Year (Singapore) is awarded to Zhang Chunlei for his pictorial language of unity

SINGAPORE, Dec. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — UOB has conferred the 2020 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year (POY) award to Mr Prabu Perdana, a 36-year-old artist from Bandung, West Java, for his painting titled Isolated Garden. Mr Perdana’s painting was chosen from among the national winners of the 2020 UOB Painting of the Year competitions, which are held in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The Indonesian artist’s depiction of self-imposed solitude to combat the community spread of COVID-19 underscored the theme of ‘Solidarity’ for this year’s POY competition. This is the sixth time an Indonesian artist has won the regional POY award.

Isolated Garden, Mr Prabu Perdana, 2020 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year
Isolated Garden, Mr Prabu Perdana, 2020 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year


Art Stages Pasar 2020, Mr Zhang Chunlei, 2020 UOB Painting of the Year (Singapore)
Art Stages Pasar 2020, Mr Zhang Chunlei, 2020 UOB Painting of the Year (Singapore)

Mr Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, UOB said, “2020 has certainly been difficult for us all, challenging lives and livelihoods, restricting movement, keeping us apart. However, through these trying times, we see the power of art to unite us all. It is brought to life in the entries in this year’s UOB Painting of the Year competition. They remind us of the strength of spirit and oneness of community whatever the odds. I congratulate our award winners this year for their achievements and thank them for portraying their positive messages to everyone as we continue to make our way forward together.”

On winning the 2020 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award, Mr Perdana said, “Isolated Garden is a poetic representation of how the community stands united to fight the pandemic together, even as individuals remain isolated physically. The quiet garden reflected my solitude during this pandemic. The desire for connection and togetherness gives us hope in this time of crisis and I wanted this artwork to reflect peace in this uncertain period.”

“The UOB Painting of the Year competition is a prestigious art competition and I am honoured that my artwork, which began and ended in a time of solidarity in solitude, is recognised for this year’s UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award.”

Isolated Garden depicts the solitude Mr Perdana experienced during the pandemic with his studio represented as an open garden without walls and only his personal belongings for company. He based his painting on the Stone Garden in the highlands of Bandung in West Java.

The judging panel for the 2020 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year comprised the Chief Judges from each of the four participating countries: Dr Bridget Tracy Tan, Director, Institute of Southeast Asian Arts and Art Galleries, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore; Mr Agung Hujatnikajennong, Independent Curator, and Lecturer, Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia; Ms Bibi Chew, Industry Advisory Panel in Visual Arts for Cultural Economy Development Agency, Malaysia; Emeritus Professor Parinya Tantisuk, leading Thai artist, and Thailand’s 2018 National Artist in Visual Arts (Painting).

Dr Tan, who is also the Regional Chief Judge, said a highlight this year was the high quality and diversity of submissions. “Solidarity, the theme uniquely assigned to this year’s UOB POY, is not simply about a coming together or standing together, as the common impression offers. In fact, solidarity highlights the interdependence of individuals in society and forges a sense of community in what we do and how we live as individuals. The admirable range of artworks this year demonstrates how art makers continue to engage their practice passionately and how they yearn to speak to their audience. The visual arts create new visual horizons that awaken the spirited bonds we have with one another at home and across Southeast Asia.”

“Art is essential to forging wellbeing, stimulating emotions and that which reminds us we are humanity. The UOB POY has yet again, offered unique insights and nurturing in the growth of our diverse cultural communities, bringing us together to celebrate meaningfulness in life, particular in this challenging time,” Dr Tan said.

Winning entries from Singapore explored life during Circuit Breaker

Established Artist Category: Mr Zhang Chunlei wins the 2020 UOB Painting of the Year (Singapore) Award

Singapore artist, Mr Zhang Chunlei, 51, was presented the 2020 UOB POY (Singapore) award for his painting titled Art Stages Pasar 2020. The oil on canvas depicts the hustle and bustle of life in Singapore grinding to a halt during the nation’s circuit breaker period, evoking a sense of loneliness and isolation. By masterfully composing famous characters, popular culture icons and landmarks from Eastern and Western cultures together, the artist hopes to convey how unity can overcome adversity.

Mr Zhang graduated from the School of Arts from Suzhou University, China. He came to Singapore 24 years ago and has been in the art profession since. He has participated in many international exhibitions, including the 8th Beijing International Art and Biennale, China 2019, China; Sea of Tears, Malaysia; and The Contemporary Asian Art Fair, Singapore.

Emerging Artist Category: 2020 Most Promising Artist of the Year Award (Singapore)

Family Portrait, Mr Emil Nicodemus Chew, 2020 Most Promising Artist of the Year (Singapore)
Family Portrait, Mr Emil Nicodemus Chew, 2020 Most Promising Artist of the Year (Singapore)

Mr Emil Nicodemus Chew, 22 won the 2020 Most Promising Artist of the Year Award (Singapore) in the Emerging Artist Category for his oil on canvas painting titled Family Portrait. Family Portrait takes inspiration from the artist’s four siblings and how, while staying at home together as a family can foster close bonds, it can also be challenging with no clear boundaries on personal space. Clothes on a rack represent the family figures and symbolise the dynamics of their relationships. Mr Chew graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore.

Drawing on technology to bring UOB POY to the region amid a global pandemic

As one of Southeast Asia’s most recognised annual art awards, the UOB POY competition is also the Bank’s flagship art programme and reflects its commitment to uncover the next generation of great Southeast Asian artists. In Singapore, it is the longest-running art competition.

Over the years, the UOB POY competition has launched the careers of well-known artists in Singapore and the region including winners of the prestigious Singapore Cultural Medallion winners − Mr Goh Beng Kwan, Mr Anthony Poon and Mr Chua Ek Kay.

Given the COVID-19 restrictions, UOB launched an online portal for all participants to submit their entries easily and safely this year. This also provided an avenue for more artists across the region to take part in the competition.

The virtual awards ceremony held today was viewed on Facebook and YouTube across the region. The winning paintings from the 2020 UOB Painting of the Year competition will be exhibited at UOB’s virtual art gallery:

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About UOB and Art

UOB’s involvement in art started in the 1970s with its collection of paintings by Singapore artists. Today, the UOB Art Collection has more than 2,500 artworks, made up primarily of paintings from established and emerging Southeast Asian artists.

UOB plays an active role in communities across the region, most notably through its long-term commitment to art. As part of this, the Bank has led a wide range of visual arts programmes, partnerships and outreach initiatives across the region.

The Bank’s flagship art programme is the UOB POY Competition, which was started in 1982 to recognise Southeast Asian artists and to offer them the opportunity to showcase their works to the wider community. The competition was extended to Indonesia and Malaysia which are celebrating their 10th year of the UOB POY, while Thailand is celebrating its 11th year of the competition.

The competition has cultivated and advanced the careers of many artists in Singapore. Notable among them are Mr Goh Beng Kwan (1982 winner), and the late Mr Anthony Poon (1983 winner) and Mr Chua Ek Kay (1991 winner), who received the Singapore Cultural Medallion, Singapore’s most distinguished art award.

The competition has also recognised talents from across the region through the UOB Southeast Asian POY award. Previous winners include Mr Anagard and Mr Suvi Wahyudianto from Indonesia in 2019 and 2018, Mr Sukit Choosri from Thailand in 2017, Mr Gatot Indrajati from Indonesia in 2016, Mr Anggar Prasetyo from Indonesia in 2015, Mr Antonius Subiyanto from Indonesia in 2014 and Ms Stefanie Hauger from Singapore in 2013.

Together with past UOB POY winners, UOB also runs art workshops for underprivileged and special needs children regularly. At these workshops, the young learn art techniques from art professionals and award-winning artists.

In recognition of the Bank’s long-term commitment to art, UOB was presented with the National Arts Council’s Distinguished Patron of the Arts Award for the 16th consecutive year in 2020.

About United Overseas Bank

United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) is a leading bank in Asia with a global network of more than 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Since its incorporation in 1935, UOB has grown organically and through a series of strategic acquisitions. UOB is rated among the world’s top banks: Aa1 by Moody’s and AA- by both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings. In Asia, UOB operates through its head office in Singapore and banking subsidiaries in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as branches and representative offices across the region.

Over more than eight decades, generations of UOB employees have carried through the entrepreneurial spirit, the focus on long-term value creation and an unwavering commitment to do what is right for our customers and our colleagues.

We believe in being a responsible financial services provider and we are committed to making a difference in the lives of our stakeholders and in the communities in which we operate. Just as we are dedicated to helping our customers manage their finances wisely and to grow their businesses, UOB is steadfast in our support of social development, particularly in the areas of art, children and education.

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