New art award to be given out next year by Art Stage Singapore and the US Embassy

Premier contemporary art fair Art Stage Singapore and the Embassy of the United States of America in Singapore will be launching a new annual award in 2015.

The inaugural Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art honours an artist or curator from the South-east Asian region who is actively committed to the ideals of freedom and liberty, and expresses these through his or her work.

The award is named after Joseph Balestier, the first American diplomat accredited to Singapore, who was appointed United States Consul to Singapore in 1836.

It will be presented on January 20 next year.

The selection will be made from among a group of regional artists or curators shortlisted by Art Stage Singapore, after which both parties will jointly name a recipient.

The award consists of a trophy, certificate and a grant of US$5,000 (S$6,556) to help the awardee continue his or her work.

"Art is our lifeblood, it has not only an aesthetic but also moral and socio-political roles. Art is visionary and inspirational, promotes social participation, integration, equal opportunities and personal development for people of all ages and backgrounds," says Mr Lorenzo Rudolf, founder and fair director of Art Stage.

"Consequently, it needs freedom. You can only create something truthful if you can act truthfully."

Art Stage Singapore 2015 will take place from Jan 22 to 25, 2015 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.