Indonesian artist Anagard, 35, has won the UOB South-east Asian Painting of the Year award for a work of art exploring the idea of harmony amid diversity.
Welcome Perdamaian, Goodbye Kedengkian (Welcome Peace, Goodbye Hostility), a stencil spray paint on aluminium work, was chosen from national winners of the UOB Painting of the Year competitions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The judges said they were impressed by Anagard's distinctive technique - often seen in spray-painted murals - that gives his painting a three-dimensional quality.
"I wanted to share the importance of harmony, unity and peace," said Anagard, who received his cash prize from Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu at a ceremony at Marina Bay Sands yesterday. He received US$10,000 (S$13,600) for the UOB South-east Asian Painting of the Year award, in addition to 250 million rupiah (S$24,240) for the UOB Painting of the Year (Indonesia) award.
The artist added: "I was inspired by a house of prayer known as Rhema Hill situated in Central Java, where people of different countries meet to explore their spiritual selves. The painting draws on the unique architecture of the prayer house with a roof shaped like a head of a dove, itself a symbol of peace."
This year's Singapore winners are Wong Tze Chau, 41, who clinched the UOB Painting of the Year (Singapore) award for his acrylic on cotton canvas diptych War And Peace, and Casey Tan Jie Wei, 25, who won the Most Promising Artist of the Year (Singapore) award for his acrylic on canvas painting The Water Is Wide, inspired by the global refugee crisis.
The UOB Painting of the Year (Singapore) award comes with a US$25,000 cash prize, while the Most Promising Artist of the Year (Singapore) award comes with a prize of US$3,000.
The United Overseas Bank competition is now in its 38th year and is the longest-running art contest in Singapore, where it was launched. Before the regional award was introduced in 2013, participants would compete only in their own South-east Asian countries.
The competition has advanced the careers of Singapore artists such as Cultural Medallion recipients Goh Beng Kwan and Chua Ek Kay.
This year's winning paintings will be shown at the UOB Art Gallery at UOB Plaza 1 in Raffles Place from Saturday until Feb 20.