It was announced on Wednesday 27th January that Debbie Han was the winner of the jury prize of the 2009 Sovereign Asian Art Prize for her work "Seated Three Graces". Debbie is the first Korean to win the regional art prize which just completed its sixth year.
Artists resident in Asia are nominated to enter the US$25,000 judged by a panel of international art experts which this year included Dr. Uli Sigg, Fumio Nanjo, David Elliott, Apinan Poshyananda and Xu Bing.
The public vote prize was awarded to Miguel Payano, an artist of Dominican Republic descent who is now resident in China, for his painting "Sha-Boy". This prize, also known as the Schoeni Prize, is decided purely by public vote cast through attendance at the finalists' exhibition and online through the Foundation website
Debbie said she was very pleased to be recognised for this work in particular as it took her two years to complete.
Debbie describes her work as challenging the "Eurocentric standard of beauty by photographing bodies of actual, present-day Asian women and combining them with prototypical western classical heads. The illusive power of these figures was achieved through a painstakingly meticulous digital rendering process, resulting in the marble-like, polished skin texture of the figures."
During the evening the remaining 29 finalists' works were auctioned with the proceeds being split evenly between the artists and charity. Over HK$2 million was raised during the evening with Hong Kong artist, Angela Su's work, "Homunculus Exhibit H, I, J" receiving the highest bed of the night at HK$273,000.
Proceeds from the evening will be used to continue the Sovereign Art Foundation fellowship with the Asian Cultural Council, funding the arts programme at M'Lop Tapang community centre in Cambodia, continuing the only international residency programme in Hong Kong with the Asia Art Archive and to start some new arts programmes for disadvantaged children in India.