The Prudential Eye Awards 2016
was held at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on 19
January 2016. Featuring 15 shortlisted artists, 39 works and an eminent
panel of Judges, the event celebrates Asia’s most exciting up-and-coming
The awards ceremony was officiated by Grace Fu, Minister for Culture,
Community and Youth, as part of the ongoing Singapore Art Week. Works
by the winning and shortlisted artists are on show at the ArtScience
Museum until 27 March 2016.
Sareth Svay: Overall Best Emerging Artist
The big winner of the night was Cambodian artist Sarath Svay (b. 1972, Battambang, Cambodia). The refugee-escapee turned artist, whose work was part of the 2013 Singapore Biennale, took
home the award for Best Emerging Artist Using Sculpture as well as the
overall Emerging Artist of the Year award. Svay received a total of
USD50,000 as prize money as well as the chance to hold a solo
exhibition at Saatchi Gallery in London this year.
According to BlouinArtinfo, Svay is known for a “rigorous, conceptually charged practice that explores difficult issues related to the political history of his home country”.
Working fluidly across various media such as sculpture, installation
and performance, Svay’s critical and compelling oeuvre bridges his own
difficult personal history with the core challenges that face Cambodian
society today. Niru Ratnam, Director of the Prudential Eye Programme, was quoted by BlouinArtinfo as saying:
Sareth Svay’s story is incredible and inspiring. His art
work draws on a very specific context but transcends that. He produces
works that are funny, poetic and confident. He is a worthy winner of the
Prudential Eye Awards.
Individual awards for painting, photography, installation and digital/video
The other four individual emerging artist awards were presented
to well-deserving representatives from across Greater Asia, including:
- Manish Nai (India): Best Emerging Artist Using Painting
- Shumon Ahmed (Bangladesh): Best Emerging Artist using Photography
- Huang Po Chih (Taiwan): Best Emerging Artist using Installation
- Trinh Thi Nguyen (Vietnam): Best Emerging Artist Using Digital/Video
Each artist received a cash prize of USD20,000. Their works are being
exhibited at the ArtScience Museum until 27 March 2016, along with
contributions by other nominated artists. As Today Online notes, Southeast Asia is in the spotlight this year, “with eight of the 15 finalists up for the major awards coming from the region”. The 2016 judging panel comprised:
- Serenella Ciclitira, Co-Founder of Global Eye Programme and Parallel Contemporary Art
- Chang Tsong-Zung, Founder and Director, Hanart Gallery TZ
- Fumio Nanjo, Director of Mori Art Museum
- Honor Harger, Executive Director, ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands
- Nigel Hurst, Director and Chief Executive, Saatchi Gallery
- Rosalyn D’Mello, Writer, Editor and Art Critic
- Gu Wenda, Artist, 2015 Prudential Eye Awards Lifetime Achievement Award winner
Sakarin Krue-On: Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award for Asian Contemporary Art, announced in early January in advance of the ceremony, was presented to Thai artist Sakarin Krue-On (b. 1965). BlouinArtinfo writes:
Some of the most significant highlights of Krue-On’s
career include taking a pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2009 and
repurposing it as a tourist office. […] In another landmark
presentation, “Terraced Rice Field” (2007), Krue-On built a fully
operational, 7,000 square meter terraced rice field adjacent to the
Schloss Wilhelmshöhe castle building in Kassel for Documenta 12 […].
Niru Ratnam remarked, quoted by the same article:
Whilst other successful Asian artists have sited their
practice within a global language of contemporary practice, Krue-On
continues to work through nuances specific to Asian cultural identity.
For this, and for his international success, he is the winner of the
Lifetime Achievement Award at the third Prudential Eye Awards.
Group awards go to independent Hong Kong spaces
Apart from individual artists, the Awards recognises institutions and
their cutting-edge exhibitions via online voting. This year, both group
awards go to independent art spaces from Hong Kong: Spring Workshop won the award for Best Asian Contemporary At Institution, while Para Site took home the prize for Best Exhibition of Asian Contemporary Art for “Great Crescent: Art and Agitation in the 1960s – Japan, South Korea and Taiwan”.
The list of other nominated institutions includes Thailand’s the land foundation and Singapore’s NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. Meanwhile, the shortlist of notable exhibitions in 2015 comprises:
Cosmin Costinas, Director of Para Site, wrote on his Facebook page:
Thank you to everyone who
voted for us! Honoured to be receiving the Prudential Eye Award [for]
Best Exhibition of Asian Contemporary Art […] during our 20th
anniversary year! And for the ones who didn’t have the chance to catch
the exhibition at Para Site or at the Mori Art Museum, Great Crescent will be on view at the MUAC in Mexico City, from 30 January through 29 May.