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British artist Nicola Anthony named in top 30 finalists for 2019 Sovereign Asian Art Prize
Nicola Anthony, a British artist based in Singapore, has been named a top 30 finalist for the 2019 Sovereign Asian Art Prize, the 15th edition of Asia’s most prestigious prize for contemporary artists whose work has been shown in museums.
By Fiona Doyle | April 8, 2019
This is not the first time artist Nicola Anthony has made it on to this prestigious shortlist. She was shortlisted for the prize in 2018 for a kinetic text sculpture which told the stories of 20 migrant workers displayed within 20 glass vessels.
This year she has made the shortlist again for a sculpture which was commissioned in 2017 by the Singapore Art Museum which has since travelled to the UK, Ireland and Hong Kong.
Speaking of this announcement, Nicola Anthony said; “It’s such an honour to be shortlisted as a finalist for a second year running for this prestigious award. I am grateful to my supporters in Asia and in Europe.”
She added “Since I opened my art studio in Singapore 7 years ago I truly felt a resonance with South East Asia, and it has lead to artworks and research which take a deep look at the processes of migration and diaspora”.
This captivating kinetic light sculpture Clockwork Moon (Reclamation) rotates like a moon and casts shifting light and shadow drawings upon its surroundings. The sculpture links the histories of Britain, Myanmar and Singapore, and contrasts fortune and misfortune through the lives of migrant workers and the displaced.
“In recent years this has become a more relevant topic globally, and this has helped me to launch projects addressing these challenging themes across Asia and the USA as well.”
The series of 8 artworks in the Clockwork Moons series explore the stories of people who experience time differently and were commissioned in 2017 by Singapore Art Museum for Anthony’s first museum solo exhibition.
Created with fire-techniques on paper, the artworks are made by drawing on a Korean calligraphy paper surface with a burning incense stick. Each piece is mindfully inscribed using heat to perforate the surface and create images in the voids left behind.
Clockwork Moon (Reclamation) Front (c) Small – Nicola Anthony Photo credit: Nicola Anthony
The shortlisted artwork is entitled Clockwork moon (reclamation). It showcases the lives of migrant workers from Myanmar who work on land reclamation projects in Singapore. They find themselves mistreated and trapped in their employment, longing for home. Find out more about the story behind it here or visit Nicola Anthony’s artwork portfolio here.
Over 70 independent art professionals from across Asia Pacific nominated 400 mid-career artists, hailing from 28 countries, for the Prize. A total of 19 countries are represented amongst the 30 finalists, making it the most geographically diverse shortlist in the history of the Prize.
The entries were shortlisted by an international panel of world-class art specialists, including writer, curator and museum director David Elliott; Jan Dalley, Arts Editor of the Financial Times; Mami Kataoka, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Hong Kong architect, artist and educator William Lim; and internationally renowned artist Zhang Huan. Nominators are typically art critics, lecturers and independent curators who work closely with artists in their respective regions.
Chair Judge David Elliott said of the 2019 entries:
“In this, another great year for The Sovereign Asian Art Prize, Korea, Pakistan and Singapore figure strongly in the judges’ choice, with excellent representations also from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macao, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. This must be one of the most diverse manifestations of art from Asia. As many of these artists are still emerging on the international scene, it is a great opportunity to discover their work.”
The selected artists represent cutting-edge contemporary art practices from the countries in which they reside. Their artworks explore and encourage discourse on a wide range of subject matters, including ideas of family, identity, growth, cultural heritage and diaspora; space, time, urban development and the spatial rhythms of modern cities, amongst others.
This year’s prize joins the movement to redress the balance between genders in the arts, with the introduction of their Women’s Art Prize. In partnership with Vogue Hong Kong, US$5,000 will be awarded to the highest scoring female artist in the competition (except for the Grand Prize Winner). This will be presented along with their usual Grand Prize, in May 2019 when the winners will be announced.