Gatot Indrajati’s “Right or Wrong My Home”

Indonesia is fast building a street-credit as the “artist” nation of Southeast Asia, after snagging the UOB Painting of the Year title for 2016, which marks three times in a row.

The winning art-piece by Yogyakarta’s, Gatot Indrajati is titled “Right or Wrong My Home” and was selected for its whimsical use of iconography and clever use of techniques such as composition, layering and perspective.

The 36-year-old artist said he was inspired by the passion that Indonesians have for their country and how that attitude is such an inherent part of the Indonesian identity.

“Indonesians also have a wry sense of humour and we often use humour as a way to demonstrate the love for our country. I wanted my painting to portray that passion and patriotism. I am extremely honoured to represent Indonesia on the regional stage with this award,” says Gatot, after being selected as the winner last month.

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Gatot Indrajati taking his award for the UOB Painting of the Year 2016

The win also marks the first hat-trick in the 34 year-long competition, which is considered the longest running art competition in the region.

The corporate social responsibility programme, which has participants from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, has since launched the careers of several Singaporean artists such as visual artist, Raymond Lau, Chua Say Hua and Hong Sek Chern.

The judges were representatives from the four aforementioned countries, namely; Agung Hujatnikajennong, an independent curator and lecturer at the Faculty of Art and Design at the Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia; Mr Choy Chun Wei, an award-winning contemporary artist from Malaysia; Dr Bridget Tracy Tan, Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Arts and Art Galleries, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore; and Mr Amrit Chusuwan, an artist and Dean of the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University in Thailand.

Meanwhile, for the competition’s Painting of the Year Malaysia 2016, the winner is 29-year-old Yim Yen Sum.


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Yen Sum and her winning art “Floating Castle”

Her piece titled “Floating Castle” captured judges for its delicate needlework, conveying the fragility of cultural traditions, which could easily disintegrate without proper care and attention.

The mix medium artwork incorporates a traditional Chinese house embroidered on a sheet of gauze.

It was chosen out of four finalists from the established artist category.

I hope my art will highlight the shared responsibility of a community to preserve and to nurture age-old customs for future generations. I am honoured to receive this award and I look forward to representing Malaysia on the regional stage,” says Yen Sum, who is no stranger to the local art scene, having mounted various exhibitions in Kuala Lumpur since 2007.

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Yin Yen Sum’s “Floating Castle” is the 2016 UOB Painting of the Year, Malaysia