Artwork depicting parallels between depleting natural resources and human development wins 2022 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) award


 skin of land

‘地皮 – Skin of Land’ by Mr Seah Ze Lin, 2022 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia), Established Artist Category


Kuala Lumpur, 26 October 2022 – UOB Malaysia presented the 2022 UOB Painting of the Year (POY) (Malaysia) award to Mr Seah Ze Lin for his artwork titled, ‘地皮 – Skin of Land’. As the winner of this prestigious award under the Established Artist Category, Mr Seah received a cash prize of RM100,000. Mr Seah had previously won the Silver Award twice in the 2016 and 2017 UOB POY (Malaysia) award, Established Artist Category.

Mr Seah’s painting will also compete with other winning entries from Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand for the 2022 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award, which will offer the winner a chance to win a one-month residency programme at the renowned Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan. The award will be announced next month in Singapore.

Ms Ng Wei Wei, Chief Executive Officer of UOB Malaysia, said, “At UOB, we believe in doing right by our community and supporting artistic talents in their creative pursuit. As this competition enters its 12th year, it is gratifying to see that we continue to provide a space for our home-grown talents to explore their full creativity, and enabling them to tell their inspiring visual stories and life experiences through the medium of art.

“In line with the Bank’s Purpose of ‘Building the future of ASEAN’, we continue to uncover and to nurture local artists to develop their profession and shine at international platforms. Through the UOB POY competition, we hope to connect the region by showing the different perspectives and commonalities of our culture through art. After all, art transcends cultures, and is able to express ideas and emotions beyond any spoken language.”

Through his winning artwork ‘地皮 – Skin of Land’, Mr Seah wanted to illustrate how the development of human society comes at the expense of the environment. He masterfully crafted a map in the form of an animal with its skin laid bare on the frame with wool felt and synthetic fibres. There are no visible words on the map as it has been cut, washed and burned, to symbolically show that the lines between nature and human dwellings are blurred, signifying that humans and nature are intertwined. At the centre of the art piece lies an imagery of a primeval forest, one that is slowly engulfed due to human development.

Describing his artwork, Mr Seah said, “In Chinese, ‘地皮’ means a commercially valuable site rich in natural resources. The artwork portrays an animal that has been hunted down, depicting how valuable land is often exploited for its natural resources. Within the map are contour lines, different symbols and colours to depict the complex framework of human society. I am honoured to win the 2022 UOB POY (Malaysia) award, and I am delighted that my artwork will represent Malaysia for the coveted 2022 UOB Southeast Asian POY award.”

Ms Bibi Chew, Chief Judge of the 2022 UOB POY (Malaysia) competition, said, “The winning artworks this year conveyed a wide range of messages through a variety of materials. It is encouraging to see our local artists challenging themselves in a creative way, to push the boundaries to create something new and refreshing. Through their art, they have made an important contribution to society and the art community, while making the local art scene much more vibrant. I would also like to thank UOB Malaysia for their unwavering support in providing a platform for our established and emerging artists to showcase their talent.”

Mr Seah joins the ranks of past UOB POY (Malaysia) winners, including Mr Saiful Razman, Mr Sabri Idrus, Ms Cheng Yen Pheng, Ms Cheong Kiet Cheng, Mr Chok Yue Zan, Ms Yim Yen Sum, Ms Minstrel Kuik and Mr Gan Tee Sheng1, who have gone on to receive national and international acclaim for their artworks.


Emerging Artist Category: Mr Wooi Ki Xiong wins the 2022 UOB Most Promising Artist of the Year (Malaysia) award


 mandi bunga

‘Mandi Bunga’ by Mr Wooi Ki Xiong, 2022 Most Promising Artist of the Year (Malaysia), Emerging Artist Category


In the Emerging Artist Category, Mr Wooi Ki Xiong took home the Most Promising Artist of the Year award for his mixed media artwork titled ‘Mandi Bunga’ or flower bath. A self-taught artist, Mr Wooi’s artwork illustrates the cleansing ritual practised across Southeast Asian countries to ‘buang suay’ (which means to purify oneself from negative energy). He used white acrylic paint to represent purification, and layered with black acrylic paint to signify impurities such as bad energy or aura. Created using acrylic, structuring paste, aluminium foil, blue malachite and amethyst, the mixed media piece illustrates Mr Wooi’s desire for the nation to prosper again and to purge bad energy after going through a rough period during the pandemic.

As announced in May2, in conjunction with UOB Malaysia’s 71st Anniversary, the Bank will be holding a special campaign that is happening in mid-November. The artwork from the Emerging Artist Category that garners the highest number of votes from the popularity contest to be hosted on UOB Malaysia’s Facebook page during this period, will be featured on the exterior of a public light rail transit (LRT) that will travel around the Klang Valley. This special campaign is a demonstration of the Bank’s commitment to make art more accessible to the wider community while raising the profile and showcasing the work of the winning Malaysian artist.

The winning artworks from the Established and Emerging Artist Category of the 2022 UOB POY (Malaysia) competition are currently displayed at the UOB POY Gallery at the Bank’s branch in Bangunan Bangsaria, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. The exhibition is open to the public from now until 8 November 2022, opening hours are from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm from Monday to Friday, and from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm on Saturday.


1List of previous UOB POY (Malaysia) winners - Mr Saiful Razman (2021), Mr Sabri Idrus (2020), Ms Cheng Yen Pheng (2019), Ms Cheong Kiet Cheng (2018), Mr Chok Yue Zan (2017), Ms Yim Yen Sum (2016), Ms Minstrel Kuik (2014) and Mr Gan Tee Sheng (2013).

2Please see UOB news release: “UOB Malaysia invites artists to push the boundaries of their imagination at the 2022 UOB Painting of the Year competition launch”, 25 May 2022