Inaugural art prize for PwDs announces winners

Aug 04, 2023

, Press Release

Four remarkable individuals have emerged as the winners of the inaugural UOL X ART:DIS Art Prize 2023, Singapore’s first comprehensive art prize that recognises all stages of artistic practice by artists with disabilities, celebrating their unique perspectives and providing them a platform to gain public visibility and patronage.

The biennial competition was launched in May this year in conjunction with UOL’s 60th anniversary year and ART:DIS’ 30th year. Organised by non-profit ART:DIS (Singapore) Ltd and supported by UOL Group Limited, the competition drew a strong response, with over 300 artworks submitted by students from 17 special education (SPED) schools in Singapore and artists from ART:DIS. Participants ranged from six to 76 years old, across a spectrum of disabilities including sensory, intellectual, developmental and physical.

A total of eight recipients were honoured in an awards ceremony held today at The Arts House, graced by Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Among the award recipients was Ms Fern Wong, aged 40, who received the prestigious Winner title in the Mature Category (Closed). She won a $10,000 cash prize and the chance to stage a solo exhibition. Her winning entry, titled PAPERAZZI, captivated the judges with its intricate paper cut-outs, transforming ordinary bulletin paper into bursts of joyful celebration. The judges noted that her artwork expresses her love of art, showcasing a remarkable level of dexterity despite her disability.

Commenting on the competition, Mr Liam Wee Sin, UOL Group Chief Executive, said: “It has been a privilege and delight to collaborate with ART:DIS and the judges on the inaugural UOL x ART:DIS Art Prize. Looking at these inspiring works of art, I am compelled to know more about the stories and journeys of the artists behind each masterpiece. Through their work, they have painted a vivid picture of perseverance, resilience and unwavering passion.”

Ms Angela Tan, ART:DIS Executive Director, said: “This Art Prize is a significant platform for the disability community – it celebrates the creative energy of the school-age years, uncovers new talent, and recognises the professional and artistic excellence of artists with disabilities in Singapore. We hope that winners of the Art Prize will gain greater public support and equal access to professional development opportunities.”

The winners were selected by a panel of art experts, namely Ms Mae Anderson, Chairman, Art Outreach and Managing Director, Head of Philanthropy Services, Asia, BNP Paribas Wealth Management; Ms Dee Chia, Deputy Director of Audience Engagement, National Gallery of Singapore; Mr John Tung, an independent curator and exhibition-maker; and Ms Adeline Kueh, Senior Lecturer, Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore. Mr Liam Wee Sin, Group Chief Executive, UOL Group Limited, was also on the judging panel.

In a statement, the judges said they were deeply moved by the submissions received, which showcased a diverse range of artworks reflecting the unique perspectives and artistic expressions of persons with disabilities. They added that all the winners demonstrated exceptional skill, artistic vision, and thought-provoking concepts in their respective works.

All winning artworks will be showcased at The Arts House (Gallery II) from 5 to 14 August (10am–9pm), in the heart of the Civic District. Members of the public can visit the exhibition and vote for their favourite artworks across all categories. The UOL X ART:DIS Art Prize will return in 2025 to continue its purpose as a catalyst for greater representation, acknowledgement and appreciation for artists with disabilities.

Download the press release here


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