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Patriotic art wins UOB prize

Nov 11. 2016
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By The Nation

Indonesian Gatot Indrajati comes up with the Southeast Asian painting of the year

“Right or Wrong My Home” by Gatot Indrajati. Photo/UOB

Indonesia's Gatot Indrajati “brushed aside” artists from Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to win the grand prize in the UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year Awards in Singapore last Wednesday. 

His colourful mixed-media-and-acrylic “Right or Wrong My Home” made Indonesia the first country to claim the top prize three times in a row.

Indrajati, 36, said he was pursuing the notion of “unity in diversity” in depicting an urban landscape populated by dozens of dolls that were fashioned from wood and attached to the canvas. The dolls, he said, were metaphors for “someone who becomes a toy for someone else”.

“I was inspired by the passion that Indonesians have for their country and how that attitude is such an inherent part of the Indonesian identity,” Indrajati said. 

“Indonesians also have a wry sense of humour and we often use it to demonstrate our love for our country. I wanted my painting to portray that passion and patriotism.”

Indonesia artist Gatot Indrajati won the UOB award for Southeast Asian Painting of the Year. Photo/UOB

He’s won UOB awards at the national level twice and five years earned the same grand prize with a painting titled “Repacking”. His take this year was US$10,000 (Bt350,000) for the overall win and $25,000 pocketed in the national competition.

The judges commended his innovative use of wood – a medium common in the traditional art in Indonesia – along with paint to create “a visually compelling and contemporary artwork”. They liked his “intelligent treatment of composition and layering to create a range of perspective that emphasised a sense of space while reflecting a typical Southeast Asian cityscape”. 

The judges included Bandung Institute of Technology lecturer Agung Hujatnikajennong of Indonesia, award-winning Malaysian contemporary artist Choy Chun Wei, Bridget Tracy Tan of Singapore’s Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and Amrit Chusuwan of Silpakorn University’s Faculty of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Arts.

 Jongjit Moolmat’s “Awaiting Enlightenment 2” was named “Thailand Painting of the Year”. Photo/UOB

 

Named “Thailand Painting of the Year” was “Awaiting Enlightenment 2” by Jongjit Moolmat, and oil portraying a human head emerging from the water like a lotus blossom. He said it symbolises the personal struggle to overcome obstacles, metaphor for Buddhist teaching.

“This painting was borne of my struggle with grief and disappointment,” said Jongjit, who earned a month’s residency at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan. 

“In the process of dealing with these emotions, I realised they’re a natural and unavoidable part of life. No matter how the storms of life batter us, we have to learn how to rise above the circumstances and live with clarity and hope.”

Yim Yen Sum won the Malaysia award with the abstract “Floating Castle”, while Carey Ngai claimed Singapore honours with the super-realistic “Industry 2.0 III”.

Thailand’s Ketsakda Wimolsong was named “Most Promising Artist of the Year” for his oil painting “Effect of Consumerism”. Photo/UOB

UOB also recognised emerging artists around the region, with Thailand’s Ketsakda Wimolsong named “Most Promising Artist of the Year” on the basis of his oil painting “Effect of Consumerism”. In the painting, the 25-year-old protests against the environmental damage caused by the overuse of plastic.

Singapore’s Yoko Choi Mei won |for her work “City Wandering”, Indonesia’s Ignasius Dicky for his painting “Khanikla mey Moyo Yarate Ate” (they have taken what belongs to us) and Malaysia’s Ng Kok Leong.

The annual UOB competition is Singapore’s longest-running art contest and the bank’s flagship art programme. UOB’s aim to champion art as a pillar of its corporate social responsibility programme began there more than 40 years ago.

UOB deputy chairman and chief executive Wee Ee Cheong reaffirmed the bank’s long-term commitment to helping art develop in Southeast Asia.

“We recognise the important role art plays in strengthening the fabric of a society,” he said. “It connects people and communities, celebrates cultures and enriches lives. 

“What is also distinctive about the UOB art programme is our focus on giving back. Beyond nurturing and profiling artistic talents, we also connect our artist alumni and our community partners to bring art appreciation to underprivileged and special needs children.”

GET A LOOK AT THE CHAMPS

- The winning paintings will be on display at UOB’s regional headquarters in Raffles Place, Singapore, from Wednesday through next February.

- The UOB Thailand Paintings of the Year exhibition can be viewed online tomorrow through December 15 at the Thailand Creative Art and Design Community website, www.Portfolios.net. 

 

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