Exhibition: 16 January ­‐ 27 March 2016, ArtScience Musuem
Awards: 19 January 2016, Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands

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Head slide 160121 the daily star
22 Jan 2016

Prudential Eye Awards 2016

Two South-Asian artists, two South-East Asian artists and a Far-East Asian artist received the best awards in five categories of the Prudential Eye Awards 2016. The third edition of the prestigious award ceremony took place at the Master Card Theatres (Sands Theatre) at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore on January 19.

For the first time, a Bangladeshi artist -- Shumon Ahmed -- bagged the award in the photography category while Cambodian artist Svay Sareth, who escaped from his home as a refugee, received two prizes at the grand art award ceremony.

Svay bagged the Overall Best Emerging Artist Award at the 2016 Prudential Eye Awards, the grandest celebration and recognition of Contemporary Asian Art. He received a USD30,000 cash prize, a citation and the chance to exhibit at London's prestigious Saatchi Gallery this year.

He also won another USD20,000 for the Best Emerging Artist Award in the sculpture category.

Bangladesh's Shumon Ahmed, who is known for his wide-ranging documentation of the conditions in ship-breaking yards of Chittagong, received the best award in the photography category. His series work titled “Metal Grave” resembles abstract painting. The other Bangladeshi artist, Promotesh Das Pulak, lost out in the best award in sculpture category to Svay.

India's Manish Nai, who received the Best Emerging Artist Award for Painting, is known for his unconventional use of materials. Using Digital Video, Trinh Thi Nguyen (of Vietnam) received the best award in the category for his work “Letters from Panduranga”. Huang Po-Chih (of Taiwan) bagged the award in the installation category for his work “Production Line-Made in China & Made in Taiwan”.

Thai artist Sakarin Krue-On, known for his site-specific installations using Thai imagery, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Asian Contemporary Art.

Slot Machine, a music band from Thailand, received award in popular culture.

Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth of Singapore, graced the award ceremony as chief guest.

The Prudential Eye Award, as part of the nine-day ongoing Singapore Art Week, was founded in 2014 by British-Italian art lovers David and Serenella Ciclitira, in partnership with insurance firm Prudential, Parallel Contemporary Art and Saatchi Gallery.

An exhibition featuring 39 artworks by the 15 shortlisted artists is now on at Art Science Museum and will continue till March 27.

Sareth Svay's work “Stake Or Skewer”, which was in the reckoning for the awards, is made of wood and 17 rubber sandals. The way the sandals hang on a wooden pole alludes to his country's tumultuous political history and the many lives lost.

Prudential Eye Programme director Niru Ratnam called Svay's work “funny, poetic and confident”.

The 43-year-old artist, who often uses everyday objects in his works, fled his home in Battambang in Cambodia in 1979 and lived in a refugee camp at the border of Thailand for 13 years before moving to Siem Reap, where he is now based. He learnt art at the refugee camp. His sculptures, installations and performance-art pieces question notions of power and his country's complex past.