This year’s UOB Painting Of The Year Awards Was A Grand Display Of Artistic Excellence

This year, UOB Malaysia hosted the 13th UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) at the Sentul Pavilion in a breathtaking display of grandeur. Illuminated by the soft glow through the towering panels of the magnificent glasshouse, 10 of the finest artworks were exhibited, each a remarkable display of artistic brilliance as two winning artworks were honoured with prestigious awards from two different categories for the night.

The UOB Painting of the Year (POY) has stood as a venerable celebration of artists and talents since 1982, establishing itself as the longest-running and most recognized art competition in Southeast Asia. At present, this prestigious competition has developed into a distinguished platform that has been crucial in nurturing local artistic talents, extending its influence across Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. The POY wasn’t just created to uncover new talents but also to serve as an established springboard for local artists to shine regionally. “Whether it is music, painting, or dancing, art allows us to set aside our differences and find common ground,” said Ng Wei Wei, Chief Executive Officer of UOB Malaysia.

The prominence of the competition has surged over the past few years, which was evident in the overwhelming response and entries that have more than doubled that of last year. “It illustrates the growing passion for art in our nation and an appreciation for creativity,” Ng said. “It is very gratifying to know that our POY competition has played a role in this development.”

The awards ceremony reached its pinnacle with the recognition of two winning artworks. In the Emerging Artist Category, multi-disciplinary artist Mairul Nisa Binti Malek was awarded the ‘Most Promising Artist of the Year’ award with a cash prize of RM16,000 for her mixed media artwork titled Malek and Mariana, which follows the journey of her father’s dedication as she narrates his travels to the remote regions in Sarawak to impart knowledge to less-privileged students.

In the Established Artist Category, artist Chong Kim Chiew was presented the top award of UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) along with a cash prize of RM100,000. His artwork, titled Malaya and British Borneo One Dollar 1953 (We look at the past, we look at the present), is a unique art piece that evokes a sense of nostalgia. Featuring two banknotes from the British Malaya era, the upper banknote was crafted to represent the past and its historical context, while the lower one exhibits a different perspective as it reflects the changes in history. The art piece was constructed to encourage audiences to gaze into the present through the lens of history. “Just like an old banknote that appreciates in value over the years, who determines the value of art, and would an artist’s work appreciates in value long after they are gone?” Chong said. “To me, this playfully challenges an artist’s pursuit of commercial value in the world of art.”

Although there were two winners to the competition, Chong—who was awarded the top award—will go on to compete in the prestigious art residency programme in the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan. Ng said, wrapping up the evening: “By nurturing a community of adaptable, informed and entrepreneurial artists, we hope to create an even broader impact on the art world in Malaysia.”


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