Two Singapore artists, Genevieve Chua and Donna Ong, each stand a chance to win US$50,000 (S$64,510) at the upcoming Prudential Eye Awards.
The regional art award, inaugurated earlier this year, aims to recognise emerging talent from Asia in different mediums of art including photography, painting, sculpture, installation and digital/video. A new category, drawing, has been added to the second edition of the award, which will be presented in January.
Each category has three shortlisted artists or collectives. The winner of each category will receive a US$20,000 prize. An overall winner will also be picked and receive a further US$30,000 and a solo show at London's renowned Saatchi Gallery.
Life insurer Prudential is the title sponsor for the award, which is part of the Prudential Eye Programme that lets young artists show their works via touring exhibitions.
The programme is a partnership established in 2008 among Parallel Contemporary Art, a Singapore not-for-profit group that supports emerging artists, Prudential and Saatchi Gallery.
About 500 artists were nominated by more than 100 art experts including curators, gallerists and artists. A shortlist was later drawn up by a panel that includes founders of the award, British art patrons David and Serenella Ciclitira.
Chua is up against Turkey's Ahmet Dogu Ipek and India's Mithu Sen in the category of drawing.
While she refers to her work as paintings, Chua, 30, is comfortable with her pieces taking on other labels, including drawing. "Drawing is the first impulse for the creation of any work," she says. "It implies an analogue way of thinking and working, which I strongly adhere to as philosophy and method from start to finish."
Ong, 37, on the other hand, will vie with South Korea's Choi Jeonghwa and Taiwan's Wu Chi-Tsung for top spot in the installation category. She says: "I am very happy to be one of the finalists and for the specific category of installation. It helps to highlight the genre, especially in Singapore, where not many artists may choose to do installation works because of space constraints."
The shortlist of 18 artists also includes Singapore permanent resident Sherman Ong for photography, Japan's Kohei Nawa for sculpture and Indonesia's Christine Ay Tjoe for painting.
On the level of competition, Prudential Eye Programme director Niru Ratnam, 42, says: "I'm impressed. There's a fantastic mix of artists whom I've been following and artists who are new to me."
An exhibition of works by the shortlisted artists will be on at the Marina Bay Sands ArtScience Museum from Jan 17 to March 31. The winners, picked by a seven-member panel of judges that includes Saatchi Gallery chief Nigel Hurst and executive director of the ArtScience Museum Honor Harger, will be announced at the by-invite awards ceremony on Jan 20.