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Reflections of university life in the 1990s wins grand prize at the inaugural UOB Art in Ink Award
UOB Ink Art of the Year: Chan Sai Lok, Sealed, 2017, acrylic on canvas, ink on silk with acrylic board, 183 x 71cm. Courtesy of the artist and United Overseas Bank.

HONG KONG.- United Overseas Bank Limited announced the eighteen winners of the inaugural UOB Art in Ink Award.

The grand prize, the UOB Ink Art of the Year Award, was presented to Mr Chan Sai-Lok, a Hong Kong-based painter and writer for his artwork titled ‘Sealed’, which drew inspiration from a short-story written by the artist about his university days. As part of the UOB Art in Ink Award, Mr Chan will also receive an international artist-in-residency scholarship at Flux Factory in New York City, United States.

The judges were unanimous in their selection of Mr Chan’s piece, citing the artist’s ability to fuse age-old techniques with the creative use of materials and his approach of coupling text within a visual ink composition, thereby opening up new interpretations of the medium.

The first UOB Art in Ink Award was themed “Reflections”, encouraging participants to present works convey their own experiences, character and emotions. The Award included two categories, “Landscape or Figures” and “Abstract”, representing key movements and subject matters within the history of Chinese ink and calligraphy. Eighteen prizes were awarded across the open (18 years old or above), senior student (13 to 17 years old) and junior student (9 to 12 years old) categories. The categories were established as a way to nurture and to foster the appreciation for ink art at every stage and age of creative development.

The winning artworks were selected by an esteemed panel of judges: Mr Johnson Chang (Founder of Hanart TZ Gallery), Mr Chui Pui Chee (Leading calligrapher and ink scholar), Mr Calvin Hui (Founder and Director of INK ASIA), Ms Olivia Wang (Independent curator, art writer and representative of Ink Society Hong Kong), and Mr Zheng Chongbin (internationally renowned contemporary ink artist).

The judges found that the winning artworks presented a myriad ideas and concepts that reflect the originality of Hong Kong’s creative talents: from the detailed gongbi style to the freely expressive xieyi technique; from handscrolls to hanging scrolls; and from flora and fauna to imagined civilisations.

Mrs Christine Ip, CEO - Greater China, UOB said, “The UOB Art in Ink Award creates a platform to help artists share their ink art with the local community. The high quality of the entries bears testament to the range of poetic, thematic and sensorial interpretations this traditional medium offers. I am glad to see the positive response that the Award has received. With UOB’s commitment to and on-going efforts in promoting ink art, we believe that this Chinese medium will continue to flourish.”

Receiving the UOB Ink Art of the Year Award, Mr Chan Sai-Lok said, “This artwork is an interpretation of my 2008 short-story Sealed, in response to my memories of studying Fine Arts and Chinese Language and Literature courses at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the 1990s. Identity is a challenging topic – revisiting the campus buildings conjured lingering thoughts and past experiences. The work layers multiple materials to expose this sense of ambiguity, echoing the intricacy of storytelling. Concurrently, the painting pays homage to the aesthetic expressions of traditional Chinese painting, while exploring the visual experience of contemporary living. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the UOB Art in Ink Award and to receive this affirmation which encourages me to pursue my passion and development in this form.”

The eighteen winning entries of the UOB Art in Ink Award will be showcased in a pop-up exhibition from 19 to 26 December 2017 at the ground floor of H Queen’s in Central. The public exhibition aims to provide widened access to ink art for the Hong Kong community and features an interactive zone where visitors can create their own unique Christmas card with ink.

The UOB Art in Ink Award 2017 is an initiative of the UOB Art Academy, set up and run by UOB Hong Kong as part of UOB’s corporate social responsibility focus on art, children, education. The UOB Art Academy plays an active role in widening access to art for the community, nurturing local artists and cultivating cross-cultural dialogues through art outreach events, exhibitions at UOB Art Space and various locations, and annual art competitions. The second UOB Art in Ink Award programme will run in February 2018.

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