In 2003 Howard Bilton, Yorkshire-born art collector and Chairman of The Sovereign Group, devised a plan to build a Foundation in Hong Kong that used art to fund and promote art programmes. The aim was not only to elevate the profiles of mid-career contemporary artists; but also help disadvantaged children living in Asia. To this end, Howard established The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) and consequently, The Sovereign Asian Art Prize.
“I want to put the best of Asian art in front of the Hong Kong public so that they can appreciate art for art’s sake, whilst at the same time – and most importantly for me personally – raise money, which can be used to assist disadvantaged children.
My motivation has always been philanthropic, but we realise that if we want to raise a significant amount of money, we have to produce a world class art prize that attracts the very best artists. So, for The Sovereign Asian Art Prize, we offer a substantial prize fund and a platform which gives artists international exposure to new audiences around the region.”