Artwork using home-grown material as commentary on the homeland wins the 2019 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) award
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 16 October 2019 – United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (UOB Malaysia) today presented the 2019 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) award to 37-year-old Ms Cheng Yen Pheng for her artwork titled, 'Tug of War: My Homeland'.
Through her mixed media piece, Ms Cheng uses homemade or home-grown materials to communicate a sense of toil and struggle in her homeland. Her canvas is made from homemade mulberry pulp. Lalang (weed) roots are strewn within the outline of a map of Malaysia and lines of cotton thread depict people in a tug-of-war, reinforcing Ms Cheng’s message of Malaysia’s struggle for a better future.
Explaining her artwork and commenting on her win, Ms Cheng said, "'Tug of War: My Homeland' is a personal response to my observations of Malaysians and their efforts to call for a change in the country. Struggle is part of the process towards change. I am confident Malaysians can achieve great success and harmony once they go through this difficult but necessary process. In my artwork, I aim to express how struggle arises when we try to strike the right balance between deliberation and decision to achieve positive change for the country ultimately. I am honoured to win the 2019 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) award and I am delighted that my artwork will represent Malaysia to compete for the 2019 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award in Singapore next month."
As the 2019 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) winner, Ms Cheng receives a cash prize of RM100,000. Her painting will vie with other winning entries from Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand for the 2019 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award which will be announced on 6 November 2019 in Singapore. Ms Cheng is also eligible to compete for a one-month residency programme with the renowned Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan.
Ms Bibi Chew, Chief Judge of the 2019 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition, said that the panel of judges was captivated by the quality of Ms Cheng's artwork and commended the artist for her skill and creative use of medium and material to convey her message.
"While we consider how aesthetically beautiful an artwork is, we also look at how creatively an artist uses their medium to execute and to express their message. In her winning artwork, Ms Cheng skilfully uses materials that not only translate into a beautiful image but also brings further depth to the piece through its symbolism and imagery. For instance, Ms Cheng's use of lalang roots conveys scale and pervasiveness while the tactility and fragility of the fauna is symbolic of the condition of society. She also uses homemade pulp as her canvas to relay a message of how Malaysians are resilient and resourceful even amid adversity and struggle. We are proud to have named Ms Cheng the 2019 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) winner and we look forward to seeing her compete with other country winners at the 2019 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year."
With this win, Ms Cheng joins the ranks of past UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) winners including Ms Cheong Kiet Cheng, Mr Chok Yue Zan, Ms Yim Yen Sum, Ms Minstrel Kuik and Mr Gan Tee Sheng who have gone on to receive national and international acclaim for their artworks.
In the Emerging Artist category, 31-year-old Ms Nurul Asikin Binti Roslan won the Most Promising Artist of the Year award for her artwork titled Bunga Moyang (Flower of the Spirits). Ms Nurul Asikin creates an intricate origami made of screwpine leaves (daun pandan) and palm leaves inspired by the indigenous Mah Meri tribe of Malaysia. The Mah Meri people commonly display the leaves during important occasions such as weddings and funerals as a mark of respect for their ancestors. In her artwork, the artist shines a light on the culture and customs of Malaysia’s indigenous people (orang asli). She encourages the viewer to remember and to honour all of Malaysia’s cultures, including those not widely known by many but are nonetheless part of Malaysia’s multi-faith and multicultural fabric.
Mr Wong Kim Choong, Chief Executive Officer, UOB Malaysia, said that the UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition helps draw out new talent and promotes Malaysian art and artists across the region.
"Now in its ninth year in Malaysia, the UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition continues to grow from strength to strength. This year, we received record entries from both emerging and established artists from all across the country. This is testament to the competition's stature and reputation as one of the most recognised art competitions in the region. Through our annual UOB Painting of the Year competition, we will continue to bring Malaysian art and Malaysian artists to the world stage."
The winning paintings from the Established and Emerging Artist categories of the 2019 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 15 November 2019, 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)
|Ms Cheng Yen Pheng||37||2019 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) award||Tug of War: My Homeland||RM100,000|
|Mr Ong Hieng Fuong||24||Gold Award||Town, No. 578||RM45,000|
|Mr Haslin Bin Ismail||35||Silver Award||Tulang Belut||RM35,000|
|Ms Low Kar Lai||30||Bronze Award||Into Each Life, Some Rain Must Fall||RM22,000|
Emerging Artist Category (Malaysia)
|Ms Nurul Asikin Binti Roslan||31||Most Promising Artist of the Year award||Bunga Moyang||RM15,000|
|Ms Ho Su San||26||Gold Award||The Moon Swimmers||RM10,000|
|Ms Wong Joo Yee||24||Silver Award||The Clock of Ageing of a Flower||RM6,000|
|Ms Tan Siew San||20||Bronze Award||Digitisation of Life||RM3,800|