Press Release 2014

UOB Painting of the Year Winner for Malaysia Awarded Prestigious Fukuoka Asian Art Museum Residency

Kuala Lumpur, 29 May 2014 - United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (UOB Malaysia)'s Painting of the Year competition winner from last year, Mr Gan Tee Sheng, has been awarded a month-long residency programme at the prestigious Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan.

The chance to win the residency was one of the top prizes of the 2013 UOB Painting of the Year competition.  Mr Gan was chosen as Fukuoka's artist-in-residence among the country winners from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, following a two-step selection process which included an interview by the judging panel1 and a review of the artist's portfolio of work by the museum's curators. 

Mr Gan is a 30-year-old, full-time artist with a keen interest in the expression of human emotions. He uses his surroundings, especially people, as a source of inspiration for his paintings.  While his earlier works reflected his inner thoughts and emotional conflicts, his current portfolio of works is focused on highlighting social issues. Mr Gan's winning work at the 2013 UOB Painting of the Year competition, titled Old Man, portrayed a tired and lonely old man, worn out by life and uncertain about the future. Through the painting, he wanted to draw attention to the social problems caused by a lack of care for the elderly.

Mr Gan said, "I look forward to exploring and to being inspired by the wide collection of Asian art at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.  This is a great opportunity for me to learn more about Japanese art and to challenge myself to push the creative boundaries for my future works."

During his stay at the residency, Mr Gan will have an opportunity to exchange ideas with the museum's directors and curators as well as the local artists in Japan.  The residency, which is fully sponsored by UOB, also includes art immersion trips to the cities of Tokyo or Kyoto.

Ms Lim Wei-ling, the judges' representative from Malaysia said that the sincerity of Mr Gan's works impressed the panel of interviewers. "We are intrigued with Mr Gan's journey as an artist and his ability to deliver a strong message through art.  We hope that his experience in Japan will inspire him to evolve and encourage him to continue developing as an artist," said Ms Lim.

The Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, the only museum in the world that collects and exhibits modern and contemporary Asian art, has a permanent collection of 2,700 artworks. Since the museum's inception in 1999, only two other established Malaysian artists2 have completed a residency programme at the museum.

UOB Painting of the Year competition supports Southeast Asian art and artists
The annual UOB Painting of the Year competition has a 32-year history in Singapore, and was introduced in Malaysia in 2011. The competition aims to recognise outstanding artists in Southeast Asia and to provide them an opportunity to showcase their works to a wider audience. 

Mr Wong Kim Choong, Chief Executive Officer of UOB Malaysia said, "The residency programme was introduced as a competition prize as we wanted to give our artists a conducive environment  in which they can focus on developing their art and exploring new ideas and techniques. Through this residency, we hope Mr Gan can help raise the awareness of Southeast Asian art and artists in Japan."

Last year, in a move to raise the profile of Southeast Asian artists, the competition introduced the UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award valued at US$10,000 (approximately RM33,000) to commend the most outstanding painting of the competition.  The regional prize pool also doubled to US$200,000 (approximately RM660,000) and was shared among a total of 32 winners from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

The winning paintings from the competition can be viewed at


1 The judging panel for the 2013 UOB Painting of the Year competition consisted of four judges' representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, as follows:
a) Mr Amir Sidharta, Director of Sidharta Auctioneer (Indonesia);
b) Ms Lim Wei-Ling, Founder of Wei-Ling Gallery and Wei-Ling Contemporary (Malaysia);
c) Mr Chua Soo Bin, Founder of SooBin Art International (Singapore); and
d) Prof Preecha Thaothong, Thai Art Department of Silpakorn University (Thailand).
2 The two Malaysian artists who had completed a residency programme at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum are Ms Azliza Binti Ayob, in year 2012; and En Tengku Sabri Tengku Ibrahim, in year 2000.


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