About us

The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) was established in 2003 with a well-defined twin focus: to recognise the growing wealth of contemporary art talent in Asia, and bring the proven benefits of expressive arts to underprivileged children. The beauty of our model is that we are able to achieve both goals in an eminently sustainable way. The Sovereign Asian Art Prize, now recognised as the most prestigious prize in its field and region, raises funds by auctioning those artworks that reach the final stage of the competition. The proceeds are then shared equally between the artists and the Foundation, to be used for our charitable projects across Asia. To find out more about our charity programmes see our ‘Who We Help’ section of the website.


A long time ago, a plan was devised by Yorkshire-born art collector and CEO of Sovereign Group, Howard Bilton, to build a Foundation in Hong Kong that used art to fund and promote art programmes. The ultimate aim was not only to elevate the profiles of mid-career contemporary artists in Asia, but also to help disadvantaged children across Asia. It wasn’t until 2003 that Howard got moving and established The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF), and consequently, The Sovereign Asian Art Prize. “I wanted to put the best of Asian art in front of the Hong Kong public so that they could appreciate art for art’s sake whilst at the same time, and most importantly for me personally, raise money which we could use to assist disadvantaged children, “Howard explained. “The main motivation was always philanthropic but we quickly realized that if we wanted to raise decent sums of money we had to pro­duce a world class art prize which would get the best artists entering. So we had to offer the artists a decent prize fund and a platform which gave them international exposure to new audiences around the region. Everything had to come together,” said Howard. Today, SAF runs a number of contemporary art prizes around the world.

FINANCIALS The Sovereign Art Foundation is a non-profit organization and a registered charity in Hong Kong (#850895), Singapore (#201333596K), The United Kingdom (#1125885), Guernsey (#CH538) and South Africa (133-721 NPO). We take great pride in our financial model and are incredibly fortunate in that 100% of our administrative costs are covered by the Sovereign Group, meaning we are able to channel 100% of funds raised to our charitable projects.

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