Japanese art group wins big at Prudential Eye Awards

Japanese art group wins big at Prudential Eye Awards
Motomu Inaoka, Ryuta Ushiro, Ellie and Yasutaka Hayashi of the six-member Japanese art collective Chim-Pom, named Overall Best Emerging Artist at the 2015 Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art.

Japanese art collective ChimPom had reason to cheer last night.

They were named the overall winner, or Overall Best Emerging Artist, at the 2015 Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art.

They walked away with US$50,000 (S$66,600) and the chance to exhibit at London's prestigious Saatchi Gallery this year.

The event at Marina Bay Sands was officiated by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, and is part of Singapore Art Week.

Chim-Pom also won Best Emerging Artist in the Digital/ Video category, one of the 13 award categories this year.

Mr Niru Ratnam, director of the Prudential Eye Programme and one of the judges, said Chim-Pom's work "bucks tradition, transcends national boundaries and is relevant both in Asia and beyond".

The awards were founded by British-Italian art lovers David and Serenella Ciclitira, in partnership with insurance firm Prudential and Saatchi Gallery.

Chim-Pom came together in 2005 when its six members were in their 20s, and have been getting international attention with performances responding to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.

The six are Ryuta Ushiro, Yasutaka Hayashi, Ellie, Masataka Okada, Motomu Inaoka and Toshinori Mizuno. Their work is known for its strong messages about Japanese society as well as its wit and melancholy.

Responding to their win and the prize money, they told The Straits Times: "We are so happy. We are going to drink 10,000 gallons of alcohol with it."

Now in its second year, the Prudential Eye Awards recognises the best emerging artists working with various media, and also shines the spotlight on leading art institutions and exhibitions.

Indian artist Mithu Sen, 43, won in the category of Best Emerging Artist Using Drawing.

Singapore's Donna Ong, 37, won in the Installation category. Sherman Ong, 43, who divides his time between Singapore and Malaysia, won the award in the Photography category, while Indonesia's Christine Ay Tjoe, 41, won in the Painting category.

Contemporary Chinese artist Gu Wenda, known for his innovative use of materials while drawing on Chinese cultural traditions, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Asian Contemporary Art.

Other key winners include Singapore's Future Perfect, named the Best Gallery Supporting Emerging Asian Contemporary Art.

No Country, a touring show which made its final stop last year at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, was named Best Exhibition of Asian Contemporary Art.


This article was first published on Jan 21, 2015.
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