Press Release 2017

Paintings that highlight the impact of change and development win the 2017 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) Award

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 12 October 2017 - United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (UOB Malaysia) today awarded the 2017 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) Award to Mr Chok Yue Zan for his painting titled 'I Thought, We Can Stay Strong Like Stones'. With his win, Mr Chok joins the ranks of illustrious past UOB Painting of the Year winners including Ms. Yim Yen Sum and Ms Minstrel Kuik who have gone on to receive national and international acclaim through their many group and solo exhibitions.

The painting, which is the artist's impression of an old family photograph, was chosen among four finalists in the Established Artist category at this year's UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition. The 23-year old artist impressed a panel of art experts1 with his creativity, technical skill and use of mixed media to evoke feelings of nostalgia. The painting highlights how familial relationships can change and sometimes fracture in keeping pace with the modern world.

Ms. Beverly Yong, Head Judge of the 2017 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition and founder of Rogue Art said, "I was impressed by the intelligent way in which the artist brings together different layers of concept and different approaches to his material. Among the many works submitted, his painting stood out for how he connected our personal and emotional stories to our natural environment and how much is at stake as it begins to disappear."

As the 2017 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) Award winner, Mr Chok received a cash prize of US$25,000 (RM105,000). His painting will be up against other winning entries from Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand for the overall regional prize. The 2017 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year Award will be announced on 8 November 2017. Mr Chok will also be eligible to compete for a one-month residency programme with the prestigious Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.

Explaining his artwork, Mr Chok said, "I hope my art draws the viewer back to a simpler time when family relationships seemed permanent and strong, like stone. I hope my painting will remind people about the importance of family ties and the need to protect and to preserve such ties before it is too late. I am delighted to receive this award and I look forward to representing Malaysia at the UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year Award in Singapore next month."

In the Emerging Artist category, 21-year old Mr Ong Hieng Fuong won the UOB Most Promising Artist of the Year award for his painting titled 'Town, No.20'. Using a technical pen to create fine strokes of ink wash on paper, the artist paints an aerial view of a town in the early stages of development. Mr Ong's painting reflects a time when towns were less densely populated and more surrounded by nature.

Now, in its seventh year, the UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition is UOB Malaysia's long-term commitment to encourage and to support the development of Malaysian and Southeast Asian art and artists. It aims to provide local artists with an international stage to showcase their work and to promote greater appreciation for art within Malaysia and across the region.

Mr Wong Kim Choong, Chief Executive Officer, UOB Malaysia, congratulated the winners and said this year's winning paintings were both inspiring and thought provoking.

"This year, the 2017 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition featured works of art that evoked feelings of nostalgia and forced us to examine what the concept of change means to each of us. With the advent of technology, larger populations and the rapid urbanisation of rural towns, change is inevitable. How we interpret and negotiate this change is what is important. Such is the power of art, to stir emotions and to raise questions within us that have the potential to bring about positive change to our environment, our communities and our people," Mr Wong said.

The winning paintings from the Established and Emerging Artist categories of the 2017 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition will be exhibited alongside past year winners at PORT Commune, No. 3, Jalan 51/201, Seksyen 51, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia from 13 October to 13 November 2017. The exhibition is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Admission is free.

Established Artist Category (Malaysia)
2017 UOB Painting of the Year, Malaysia: Mr Chok Yue Zan, I Thought, We Can Stay Strong Like Stones
Gold Award: Mr Haris Abadi Bin Abdul Rahim, Sacred Space
Silver Award: Mr Seah Ze Lin, Homeland
Bronze Award: Ms. Tiong Chai Heing, The Desolate Echo

Emerging Artist Category (Malaysia)
Most Promising Artist of the Year, Malaysia: Mr Ong Heng Fuong, Town, No.20
Gold Award: Ms. Ong Cai Bin, Peep's World
Silver Award: Mr Muadz Bin Abd Rahim, Ghost Town Story
Bronze Award: Mr Wong Choon Sian, Fetch My Granddaughter Home


1 The judges of the 2017 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition include Ms. Beverly Yong, RogueArt Founder and Valentine Willie Fine Art Curator (Head Judge), Ms. Bibi Chew, Contemporary, Conceptual and Multi-disciplinary Artist and Mr Faizal Sidik, Curator of the National Visual Arts Gallery of Malaysia.

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