The UOB Painting of the Year competition is going digital amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Artists from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are invited to respond to the theme "Solidarity", and have until Oct 11 to submit photos of their art electronically. Those who are shortlisted will still need to send in their physical works.
The UOB Painting of the Year, now in its 39th edition, is Singapore's longest-running annual art award. It is open to emerging and established artists, who stand the chance to win awards in their country categories.
The most outstanding established artist - to be announced in a virtual ceremony in November - will receive the UOB South-east Asian Painting of the Year award. This comes with a cash prize of US$10,000 (S$13,600).
The UOB Painting of the Year award has furthered the careers of many artists and counts several Cultural Medallion winners - Goh Beng Kwan, Anthony Poon and Chua Ek Kay - among its alumni.
Exhibitions at the UOB Art Gallery in Raffles Place are also being presented in a virtual gallery on the bank's websitethis year.
Ms Lilian Chong, UOB's executive director of group strategic communications and brand, said of the virtual gallery: "In the pre-Covid days, we had an average of six to seven exhibitions a year, and almost all of them were dedicated to supporting UOB Painting of the Year winners.
"It has been inevitable that we move online. A good portion of us are still working from home and putting UOB Art Gallery online is a convenient way to view the artworks at your fingertips."
The virtual gallery is now showing a selection of works by past winner Stefanie Hauger, 51, and will go on to feature fellow winners Wong Tze Chau and Ho Seok Kee.
German-born Hauger, who spent the Covid-19 circuit breaker taking stock of her art practice, says bagging the UOB South-east Asian Painting of the Year in 2013 gave her much exposure.
"I went from being super unknown to being on a super-fast trajectory in the public eye," the Singapore permanent resident added.
(Before the pandemic), we had an average of six to seven exhibitions a year... A good portion of us are still working from home and putting UOB Art Gallery online is a convenient way to view the artworks at your fingertips.
MS LILIAN CHONG, UOB'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GROUP STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS AND BRAND, on installing a virtual art gallery on the bank's website
"It was an incredible experience for me. Being in the public eye, of course, also opens you up to criticism... But your armour grows as you go along."
On introducing a theme for this year's competition, UOB's Ms Chong said: "In this Covid-19 situation, determination, resilience and the notion of unity are immensely important.
"Through the UOB Painting of the Year competition, we hope to uncover and recognise talented artists across the region, and lift the community spirit through the appreciation of art by sending a very positive message to the world."
• For more information, visit www.UOBandArt.com