Forum: Incentives should be given in sculpture competition to recognise artists' efforts

I read with great interest the article "Wanted: Sculpture that best depicts interfaith harmony" (April 22).

The competition is part of DialogueSpaceSG Interfaith Forum for Young Adults and is organised by the Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

The event is also part of the Catholic Church's commemoration of its 200th year in Singapore.

I applaud and support the intent of the competition. However, after reading the competition details, I was appalled for the following reasons:

First, there is no monetary prize for the winning artist's efforts.

Second, the prize given to the winning artist is the promise that the sculpture may be built and be displayed in a public place.

Third, shortlisted participants will have to submit a 1:10 scale physical mock-up, with its cost borne by participants.

Fourth, all participants will have to grant the organiser worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive rights and licence to use, exhibit, and reproduce the sculpture in any medium or format, including digital, for any purpose connected to the DialogueSpaceSG.

The terms of the competition seem unfairly stacked against participating artists.

While the intent of the competition is good, it may be sending the unintended message that there is no value in art and design.

It may seem that creative ideas and design can be obtained for free, simply because they are intangible.

Artists and designers take tremendous pride in their work and spend a lot of time and effort to come up with an artwork or design.

Competitions do provide opportunities for budding artists and designers' work to be recognised, but the terms should not be so unfavourable to them.

It might be more appropriate to call this a public drive for ideas, rather than a competition.

If society is sincere in nurturing the next generation of local designers and artists, local competitions need to better recognise their work.

I appeal to the organiser to relook the terms of this competition.

Appropriate incentives, such as monetary prizes, will be more encouraging.

Tan Litong

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