By THE NATION
This year's competition saw the largest number of entries, a 39 per cent increase from last year, since it began ten years ago.
Chaichana is the first to win in two consecutive years in the history of the competition, having been voted the country's Most Promising Artist of the Year in 2018.
On receiving the award this year, Chaichana said, "I hope my art can make more people understand that the world is drowning in ever-growing stockpiles of waste from discarded electronics. It is through art that I can best express my thoughts and concerns. I appreciate the experiences and opportunities gained from the UOB Painting of the Year (Thailand) competition which helped pave the way to today's recognition. I am so proud to receive this award and I look forward to represent Thailand on the regional stage."
The concept of his artwork impressed the judges with its reflection of the worsening global issue of electronics waste (e-waste). The judging committee said Chaichana's striking artwork could hold its own, even at international level.
The panel of judges for this year's UOB Painting of the Year (Thailand) competition comprised Assistant Professor Somporn Rodboon, an independent curator for collections exhibited in both local and international museums; Emeritus Professor Parinya Tantisuk, Thailand National Artist of visual arts (painting) in 2018; and Amrit Choosuwan, honorary artist and vice president for Arts and Culture at Silpakorn University.
As the winner of the Established Artist category this year, Chaichana received a cash prize of US$25,000 (Bt750,000) while his artwork will go on to compete with the paintings by other winners of the UOB Painting of the Year competition from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore for the 2019 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award.
Chaichana also stands a chance to win a one-month residency programme at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan. In addition, his artwork Wastescape will be exhibited at the UOB Art Gallery, located at the bank's headquarters in Singapore.
In the Emerging Artist category, 23-year-old Somchai Sidamon won the 2019 UOB Most Promising Artist of the Year (Thailand) award. Somchai's mixed media on wood artwork, titled Faces – Reflections of Life No 2, represents the hardship and fatigue of his family's livelihood and their struggles to earn a living in a rural environment. The artist based his piece on the technique of making leather shadow puppets and combined it with the use of colour to draw out the structure, expressions and character lines of the faces of his kin.
Tan Choon Hin, president and chief executive officer of UOB (Thai), said the bank is steadfast in nurturing passionate Thai artists and providing them with opportunities to showcase their talent on the regional art scene.
"The 2019 UOB Painting of the Year (Thailand) competition underlines our unwavering commitment and dedication to motivate and to inspire established and emerging Thai artists in their creative pursuits. We encourage them to push their creative boundaries through the annual competition that helps to uncover the abundant talent we have in this country. We are pleased to receive record entries in the competition's tenth year, a milestone. Through our flagship art programme, we continue to encourage their artistic passion and to profile them on the international stage," he said.
The winning and shortlisted paintings from both Established Artist and Emerging Artist categories will be exhibited at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre from October 1 to 13, at UOB (Thai) Head Office on Sathon Road from October 14 to 31, and at UOB (Thai) Phetkasem Building from November 1 to 15. The exhibitions are open to the public and admission is free.