Press Release 2018

Intricate painting with a message of hope and optimism wins the 2018 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) award

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 18 October 2018 - United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (UOB Malaysia) today presented the 2018 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) award to 37-year-old Ms Cheong Kiet Cheng for her painting titled 'Through the Eye of the Flower'.

The winning painting is ink on canvas with an intricate collage of symbols inspired by nature to tell a story of hope and rejuvenation. Ms Cheong's surreal and dream-like painting takes the viewer through 'the eye of a flower' to see a world inhabited by children, fairies, whales and crocodiles. At the centre of the painting, Ms Cheong uses the image of her two young daughters to convey feelings of hope and the promise of a better future. The images of the sun and curved whale in the painting represent the golden crescent moon and star of the Malaysian flag. For the artist, hope lies in the centre for Malaysia while at the periphery are the negativities - depicted in the form of a menacing crocodile.

Explaining her artwork and commenting on her win, Ms Cheong said, "I created Through the Eye of the Flower in response to changes in Malaysia brought upon by recent events which evoked feelings of optimism and joy within me. I am delighted to receive this award and I look forward to representing Malaysia at the 2018 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year competition next month."

As the 2018 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) winner, Ms Cheong receives a cash prize of RM100,000. Her painting will be up against other winning entries from Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand for the 2018 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award which will be announced on 1 November 2018 in Singapore.

Ms Cheong will also be eligible to compete for a one-month residency programme with the prestigious Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan. With this win, Ms Cheong joins the ranks of past UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) winners including Ms Yim Yen Sum, Mr Gan Tee Sheng and Ms Minstrel Kuik who have gone on to receive national and international acclaim for their artworks.

Ms Lim Wei-Ling, Head Judge of the 2018 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition, said she was impressed by the quality of Ms Cheong's artwork and that her painting was of an international standard.

"When judging the competition, we look for an artwork that stands out and is able to hold its own not just at the local level, but at the international level too. Through the Eye of the Flower was an artwork that ticked all the right boxes for the judges in terms of message, technique, creativity and composition. The artwork was visually captivating as a Painting of the Year should be, and it was beautifully made and incredibly detailed."

In the Emerging Artist category, 22-year-old Ms Koh Kai Ting won the Most Promising Artist of the Year award for her painting titled The Double Portrait. Using watercolour on polyester mesh fabric, Ms Koh created a painting that draws attention to the struggle of those who are bullied and pressured to conform to societal norms at the expense of individual happiness. The message was conveyed through an image of a goat pierced by thorns to show the magnitude of suffering experienced under these circumstances.

Now, in its eighth year, the UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition is part of UOB Malaysia’s long-term commitment to encourage and to support the development of Malaysian and Southeast Asian art and artists. The competition 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 Hendra Gunawan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, UOB Malaysia, said the UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition affirms the Bank's commitment to encourage the development of Malaysia's artists and to provide them with opportunities beyond their home market.

"The 2018 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition underscores our commitment and dedication to encouraging the growth of established and emerging Malaysian artists in their creative pursuits. Our aim is to uncover and to nurture the next generation of Malaysian artists who through their work, will be able to play a positive role in the development of our society. Through the annual competition, we hope to provide artists with an avenue to pursue their passion, to develop their profession and to gain international recognition for their craft," Mr Gunawan said.

The winning paintings from the Established and Emerging Artist categories of the 2018 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition will be exhibited at the UOB (Malaysia) Painting of the Year Gallery at the Bank's branch in Bangunan Bangsaria, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. The exhibition will be open to the public until 24 November 2018, between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm from Monday to Friday, and between 10.00 am and 3.00 pm on Saturday.

Established Artist Category (Malaysia)


Emerging Artist Category (Malaysia))

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