SEA's best: Malaysian artist Saiful Razman bags UOB Painting of the Year award


By AGENCY

'I wanted to express the absence of sound and the sense of serenity experienced during self-isolation through using mixed media and highly contrasting shades of grey,' says contemporary artist Saiful Razman about his prize-winning work. Photos: Saiful Razman

Contemporary artist Saiful Razman has won the UOB South-East Asian Painting of the Year award for a minimalistic, monochromatic artwork inspired by self-isolation during the pandemic.

Titled Walk In Silence, Don't Walk Away In Silence (inspired by a song lyric from British post-punk group Joy Division), it makes creative use of thin-rolled tissue paper and medical gauze, and features a "haven" in the shape of a house.

His artwork came tops among the country winners of the UOB Painting of the Year contests in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. His win was announced on Friday (Nov 26) in a virtual ceremony on YouTube.

The competition, organised by United Overseas Bank (UOB), is Singapore's longest-running art contest and is now in its 40th year.

Saiful, 41, said in a statement to the media that Covid-19 has made feelings of isolation more prevalent than ever.

"I wanted to express the absence of sound and the sense of serenity experienced during self-isolation through using mixed media and highly contrasting shades of grey," he added.

Saiful will receive US$35,000 (RM148,000) for winning the overall prize, in addition to RM100,000 for the UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) award. He will also get to take part in a residency programme at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan.

Next year, UOB will also run a commemorative exhibition in Singapore featuring past winners of the award's South-East Asian and Singapore categories since 1982, the year the competition started. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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