Bar raised for UOB painting award

Bar raised for UOB painting award
The oil and acrylic painting, Just Let Me Sleep, done by Esmond Loh, Hwa Chong Institution student, won the 2012 United Overseas Bank (UOB) Painting Of The Year award. The painting is a self-portrait inspired by the stress of school life.

A teenage upset at Singapore's richest and longest-running painting award may be a thing of the past.

The annual United Overseas Bank Painting Of The Year contest is back with new rules for its 32nd year.

Arts observers interviewed say the latest changes may raise the bar and level the field of competition so that artists of similar levels of experience can compete alongside each other.

Instead of the two previous categories of "youth" and "open", the competition is now divided into "emerging artist" and "established artist" categories.

The emerging category is open to all artists, regardless of age and experience. The title of Most Promising Artist Of The Year, which comes with a prize of US$3,000 (S$3,781), will be picked from this group of entrants.

In the established category, artists have to fulfil at least one of four criteria: be represented or have been represented by a gallery; have exhibited or sold a piece of art; been commissioned to produce an artwork; or have produced a personal catalogue of their work. The top prize, Painting Of The Year, worth US$25,000, will be selected by a panel of judges from submissions in this category.

Previously, the top honour was chosen from submissions in the open category, whose only barrier to entry was a minimum age of 13.

The tweak in rules follows last year's surprise win, when Esmond Loh, 17, beat other contestants, making it the third time in eight years that the title has gone to someone 18 or younger.

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