Artists Ezzam Rahman and Ong Kian Peng named joint winners for President's Young Talents award

Local artists Ong Kian Peng (Left) and Ezzam Rahman, both winners of the Singapore Art Museum's President's Young Talents Award.
Local artists Ong Kian Peng (Left) and Ezzam Rahman, both winners of the Singapore Art Museum's President's Young Talents Award.ST PHOTO: TUKIMAN WARJI/SHAWN TEO

SINGAPORE - For the second time, two artists have tied for top position in the Singapore Art Museum's President's Young Talents Award.

Ezzam Rahman, 33, and Ong Kian Peng, 34, were named winners at the much anticipated ceremony held at the museum's Glass Hall on Wednesday (Oct 21).

In the 2013 edition, film-makers Boo Junfeng and Liao Jiekai were joint winners.

President Tony Tan presided over the awards ceremony and gave away the cash prize of $20,000, which is to be shared equally between the two artists.

The cash prize can be used either for the creation of a new work or an artist residency to further develop their practices.

Driven by different interests, Rahman and Ong each offers a multi-layered approach and represents various aspects of Singapore contemporary art through works spanning performance, new media, sculpture and sound.

So, while Rahman creates fragile, miniature flowers from his own dead skin and raises unpalatable questions about matters of the flesh in his work Here's Who I Am, I Am What You See, Ong's evocative Too Far, Too Near installation is a grim reminder of climate change.

The exhibition also shows how contemporary art here is evolving and how artists are increasingly taking on global issues in this inter-connected world.

Congratulating the winners, Dr Susie Lingham, director of Singapore Art Museum said: "We are impressed with the quality of works produced by all the finalists. In selecting joint winners for this year's prize, we embrace the plurality of voices that make up the world of contemporary art and acknowledge the diversity of artistic visions."

Other multi-disciplinary artists in this year's President's Young Talents exhibition which runs at SAM at 8Q till March 27 are Loo Zihan, 31, Bani Haykal, 30, and Ang Song Ming, 34.

Founded in 2001, the President's Young Talents recognise outstanding young Singapore artists. It is the only mentoring and commissioning exhibition and in that it is different from other art awards.

It has previously honoured, among others, installation artist and photographer Francis Ng, abstract painter Ian Woo, film-maker Tan Pin Pin and art collective Vertical Submarine.

deepikas@sph.com.sg