Portrait of Bangkok chaos wins top art prize

Art October 09, 2018 17:07

By The Nation

5,720 Viewed

Artist-cum-bar owner Apiwat Banler was recently awarded first prize in the 2018 “UOB Thailand Painting of the Year” competition for his acrylic on canvas “Persistent Problems”.

 The work conveys the impact of being surrounded by chaos in everyday life through such problems as Bangkok’s traffic gridlock, urban sprawl, the deferred construction of transport infrastructure and mass transit system outages. 

The richness in detail and the message behind the painting made this artwork a unanimous choice for this year’s top award.

“I have encountered all these issues and I admit that they have frustrated me. Instead of complaining, I used them as my inspiration in creating my artwork. As someone who has only embarked on a career as an artist in recent years, I am honoured to win the UOB Thailand Painting of the Year award. This international and contemporary art competition has provided me with a rewarding experience,” said Apiwat, 38.

His winning work was in the Established Artist category and he received a cash prize of US$25,000 (Bt750,000). The work will also go on to compete against the winning entries from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore in the UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year Award. 

Apiwat also stands a chance to win a one-month residency at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan. 

In the Emerging Artist category, 27-year-old Chaichana Luetrakun won the UOB Most Promising Artist of the Year award for his painting “Rhythm of Transformation No. 4”. The acrylic painting uses a landscape of junk cars to represent the change in humans through time. The artist views society as consisting of people with different backgrounds, experiences and memories. He reinterprets the human form through the asymmetrical arrangement of cars to symbolise how humans grow up and become different elements driving a society.

Tan Choon Hin, president and chief executive officer of UOB (Thai), said that the art competition is one of the company’s ways of engaging and giving back to the community. 

“We believe in supporting and encouraging those in our community who have passion, talent and drive. For close to a decade, the competition has helped to launch the careers of many promising artists in Thailand and to provide an avenue for the country’s emerging and established artists to share their works with a wider audience across the region. By creating opportunities for artistic talent to pursue their passion, we hope to discover and nurture the next generation of great Southeast Asian artists. We would like to congratulate this year’s winners and we hope all the artists will continue to pursue their passion and to realise their potential,” he said.

The panel of judges for this year’s UOB Painting of the Year competition was made up of Asst Prof Somporn Rodboon, art instructor Amrit Chusuwan, and celebrated artist Chalermchai Kositpipat.

The winning and shortlisted paintings from both the established and emerging categories are on view at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre until October 11 before moving to UOB (Thai)’s Head Office on Sathorn Road from October 12 to 26.