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Hong Kong [1 March 2018] The Sovereign Art Foundation has announced the top 30 finalists of The 2018 Sovereign Asian Art Prize – the 14thedition of Asia’s most prestigious prize for contemporary artists. Over 70 independent art professionals from across Asia Pacific nominated 328 mid-career artists into the Prize, resulting in more than 530 artworks entered from nominees in 28 territories around the region.

The entries were shortlisted by an international panel of world-class art specialists including Alexandra A. Seno, Head of Development at Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong; David Elliott, writer, curator and museum Director; Fumio Nanjo, Director of the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and Art Education International Director of Hong Kong Arts School; Jan Dalley, Arts Editor of the Financial Times; and Rashid Rana, celebrated contemporary artist.

Nominators are typically art critics, lecturers and independent curators who work closely with artists in their respective regions. The selected artists represent cutting edge contemporary art practice from the countries in which they work and reside. This year’s shortlisted artworks span a variety of mediums and include a lyrical, music-inspired bronze sculpture, a highly textured oil painting that employs the use of the ‘impasto’ technique and an intricately hand-painted ceramic work. The works comment on topics such as identity, cultural heritage and displacement, time and memory, social pressures and political tension, amongst others.The shortlisted artists are:

Lv Shanchuan CHINA
Weiyi Hu CHINA
Zhang Xiao CHINA
Zhou Hongbin CHINA
Chui Pui Chee HONG KONG
Hung Keung HONG KONG
Amritah Sen INDIA
Patricia Untario INDONESIA
Mineki Murata JAPAN
Noriko Yamaguchi JAPAN
Toshiyuki Kajioka JAPAN
Said Atabekov KAZAKHSTAN
Saule Suleimenova KAZAKHSTAN
Cha Minyoung KOREA
Myoungwook Huh KOREA
Kay Zhang MACAO
Halima Cassell PAKISTAN
Muhammad Onaiz Taji PAKISTAN
Saba Qizilbash PAKISTAN
Saima Rasheed PAKISTAN
Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan PHILIPPINES
Wawi Navarroza PHILIPPINES
Nicola Anthony SINGAPORE
Huang Hua-Chen TAIWAN
MALE 16*

*Includes one artist duo

Chair Judge David Elliott said of the 2018 entries:

“In this 14th edition of The Sovereign Asian Art Prize, the vital role played by its nominators has been particularly visible. Since its beginning, the Prize has reflected the mosaic of culture throughout this vast region and, according to time and circumstance, the excellent production of different groups of artists has swung in and out of focus.

This year, remarkable works have surfaced from South, South East and East Asia with Pakistan, Singapore, Hong Kong and China especially strongly represented. Also, for the first time, deep changes throughout the continent have been reflected in the fact that many of the chosen artists are female. The Prize judges have consistently been at the forefront of choosing some of the best mid-career and emerging artists from Asia.”

The Sovereign Art Foundation’s (SAF) portfolio of social responsibility projects includes art empowerment programs geared towards Vietnam’s most vulnerable children, a music and arts programme for orphaned or abandoned children in Mongolia’s capital, arts healing projects for victims of human trafficking in Cambodia; and a youth-lead pilot project in rural Nepal that raises awareness of children’s rights. Often the children in these programmes are victims of poverty, human trafficking, child labour, drug use or physical abuse. The Foundation uses art as a means of rehabilitating them, building self-confidence and encouraging them to return to education.

Since 2013, SAF has focused on growing its own Make It Better (MIB) project, an initiative that provides expressive arts-led learning activities to children living in some of the Hong Kong’s most impoverished areas. The programme currently delivers weekly workshops in 18 schools and centers across 11 districts in Hong Kong. SAF also runs the ‘Jockey Club Expressive Arts Programme for Children’, which is funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The pioneering programme, organised in partnership with the Centre on Behavioural Health, The University of Hong Kong, is designed to enhance efficacy in communication in teaching and learning activities within primary schools and community centres in Hong Kong; focusing specifically on students with special educational needs, their teachers and social workers.

SAF Founder and Chairman Howard Bilton said of the finalists:

“Once again, the selection of work is again extremely strong and original. Every year the quality of the work gets better. All the artists are nominated by independent experts. We ask them to choose the best artist working in their country. Not up-and-coming or emerging artists; but the best. The works are then judged by world renowned experts. This guarantees quality and gives our supporters the best possible chance of buying investment quality art and the next big thing… Instead of asking for donations, we are providing an investment opportunity.

This year, the majority of funds [raised through the Gala Dinner and Auction] will be applied towards our Make it Better program, adding to the substantial grant we received from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. In one of the richest cities in the world, we are continually surprised to find that about 15% of the population live below the official government poverty line. We hope that our generous supporters will share our belief in the need to help disadvantaged children and that once again our charity dinner will make an even greater difference. Please help us to make it better.”

From 26 April – 5 May, 2018, all shortlisted artworks will go on show at HART Hall at H Queen’s, G/F 80 Queen’s Road Central in Hong Kong. From 8 May – 10 May, 2018, the works can be seen at The James Christie Room at Christie’s, 22/F Alexandra House, 18 Chater Road in Hong Kong.

At the exhibitions, the public can view the works first-hand and will be invited to cast a vote for their favourite work to win the Public Vote Prize (votes will also be accepted via the SAF web gallery and Facebook page).  All voters will automatically be entered into a lucky draw to win two Business Class tickets to any destination on the Cathay Pacific Asia network, courtesy of our Official Airline Partner.

The Grand Prize and Public Vote Prize winning artists, to be awarded US$30,000 and US$1,000 respectively, will be announced at The Sovereign Art Foundation’s ‘Make It Better’ Gala Dinner and Auction on 11 May, 2018, at the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. Here shortlisted artworks will be auctioned and proceeds split evenly between the artists and SAF’s charitable projects.

Tickets to the Gala Dinner and Auction can be purchased through the SAF website or by contacting Carol Tsang at Carol@SovereignArtFoundation.com or +852 2542 1177. Absentee bids on finalist artworks are welcomed and interested parties can send their bids to the same contact.

Press Enquiries
Amy Cadman
E: Amy@SovereignArtFoundation.com
T: +852 2542 1177
CLICK HERE to download high-resolution images of the shortlisted artworks.
Please contact us for image credits and full artwork details.
Finalists Exhibition: 26 April – 5 May, 2018
HART Hall at H Queen’s, G/F 80 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong
Open 10am – 8pm daily (Free entry)
Finalists Exhibition: 8 May – 10 May, 2018
The James Christie Room at Christie’s, 22/F Alexandra House, 18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong
Open (8 May and 9 May) 10:30am-5:30pm / (10 May) 10:30am-3:30pm (Free entry)
Notes to Editors
About The Sovereign Art Foundation
The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) is a charity founded in 2003 in Hong Kong and now also registered in Guernsey, Singapore, South Africa and the UK. SAF annually runs The Sovereign Asian Art Prize with the purpose of raising money to help disadvantaged children. Since its inception, SAF has raised over US$6 million for charities and artists worldwide; funding projects using art as education, rehabilitation and therapy. The Sovereign Asian Art Prize is now in its 14th year and is the largest and most established arts prize in the Asia-Pacific region.
About SovereignSovereign began in Gibraltar in 1987 and has since grown into one of the largest independent corporate and trust service providers in the world. We currently manage over 20,000 structures for a wide variety of clients – companies, entrepreneurs, private investors or high net worth individuals (HNWIs) and their families – and have assets under administration in excess of US$10 billion.

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We have established a network of offices or agents in all major international finance centres allowing our clients to access a global service from a local point of delivery. We hold the appropriate authorisations in all jurisdictions that require us to be licensed.