Press Release 2015

Art that highlights social and environmental concerns wins top honours
at the 2015 UOB Malaysia Painting of the Year competition

Kuala Lumpur, 22 October 2015 - Artists inspired by their concerns about gender inequality and environmental problems were today presented the top awards for their entries at United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (UOB Malaysia) annual Painting of the Year competition.

The competition's top prize in the Established Artist1 category went to Ms Tiong Chai Heing, 29, for her charcoal pastel and watercolour painting titled Stifling. The piece reflects her concern about current environmental hazards caused by the deforestation of oil palm plantations. It features a man trapped in a poisoned oil palm tree and hints at the fragile relationship between man and nature.

Ms Tiong said she hopes her win will help raise awareness of the issue. "I am honoured to receive this award and I hope that my painting sends a strong message to the oil palm industry that a balance needs to be struck between economic benefits and environmental ethics," Ms Tiong said.

Ms Tiong won a cash prize of US$25,000 (RM104,000) in the competition. She will go on to compete with three other UOB Painting of the Year competition winners from Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand for the regional prize – the UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year Award. She also stands a chance to win a one-month residency programme at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan and will have her painting displayed at the UOB Art Gallery, located at UOB's regional headquarters at Raffles Place, Singapore

In the Emerging Artist2, category, Ms Nia Khalisa Abdul Aziz, 20, won the Most Promising Artist of the Year Award for her piece titled ‘Anak Dara Tak Boleh' (or loosely translated ‘Young Lady, You Can't'). Her painting illustrates prevailing gender stereotypes and questions the relevance of culturally and socially-determined roles.

Mr Wong Kim Choong, Chief Executive Officer of UOB Malaysia, said that the UOB Painting of the Year competition is the Bank's way of supporting talented and passionate local artists.

"We have been organising the UOB Painting of the Year competition in Malaysia for five consecutive years and I am pleased to see more artists gaining regional exposure through this competition. We aim to continue supporting emerging talent and encourage established artists to push their creative boundaries through this annual competition," Mr Wong said.

The winning entries were selected by a panel of judges comprising Dr Thomas J. Berghuis, former curator of Chinese Art at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and now curator and Executive Director at Museum MACAN, Yayasan Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art di Nusantara, Jakarta, Indonesia; Pn Zanita Anuar, Director of Publications Division at the National Visual Arts Gallery; and En Zulkifli Yusoff, leading Malaysian contemporary artist.

The 2015 winners' showcase

All the award-winning paintings will be exhibited at Curate, LG1-1, SENI Mont' Kiara, 2a Changkat Duta Kiara, Mont' Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur from 23 October to 13 November 2015, between 11.00am to 7.00pm daily (excluding weekends and public holidays). The exhibition is open to the public and admission is free.


1 The Established Artist category is open to experienced professionals with an established portfolio of work. They must have shown their paintings in solo or group exhibitions (excluding school graduation shows); be represented by a gallery; or have achieved recognition through art awards.
2 The Emerging Artist category is open to aspiring artists who are pursuing an arts education; are taking their first steps to a career in art; or simply paint for pleasure.


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