SINGAPORE.- The Singapore Art Museum
and Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation announce that artist Rodel Tapaya from the Philippines has been awarded the Grand Prize (SGD 45,000) of the APB Foundation Signature Art Prize 2011, for his artwork Baston ni Kabunian, Bilang Pero di Mabilang (Cane of Kabunian, numbered but cannot be counted).
The APB Foundation Signature Art Prize recognises artists for outstanding artwork created in the preceding three years and encourages the development of contemporary art across the Asia Pacific region. The award series is the result of a 15-year partnership announced in October 2007 between SAM and APB Foundation to develop and promote contemporary visual art in the Asia Pacific region. Tapaya's artwork was selected as the Prize winning entry from 15 artworks shortlisted from the 130 nominations received from 24 countries and territories across Asia Pacific.
His winning artwork employs imagery from Filipino folklore juxtaposed with elements of modern day Philippines, commenting on pre-colonial myths, stories and cultural heritage while also tackling current issues including environmental destruction.
On winning the award, Tapaya said, "I am extremely happy to have received the Grand Prize. It's a prestigious award and I'm honoured to have been nominated alongside 14 other very talented finalists and to be chosen as the winner by such a distinguished and well-respected panel of judges. This award will no doubt be a boost to my practice and is a great encouragement for me to continue producing good work."
Four other artists were also presented awards. Three Jurors' Choice Awards, each worth SGD 10,000, went to Daniel Crooks from Australia for Static No.12 (seek stillness in movement), Sheba Chhachhi from India for The Water Diviner, and Aida Makoto from Japan for Ash Color Mountains. The People's Choice Award (worth SGD 10,000) for the most number of public votes received from around the world went to Michael Lee from Singapore for his artwork Second-Hand City.
The jury panel comprised five eminent art experts: Mr. Fumio Nanjo, Director, Mori Art Museum; Mr. Gregor Muir, Executive Director, Institute of Contemporary Arts London; Mr. Hendro Wijanto, leading Southeast Asian writer, critic and curator; Mr. Ranjit Hoskote, poet, curator and theorist, and Mr. Tan Boon Hui, Director, SAM.
According to a statement from the jury panel, "Rodel Tapaya's Baston ni Kabunian, Bilang Pero di Mabilang (Cane of Kabunian, numbered but cannot be counted) is a compelling and monumental-scale work. With its multiple narratives and diverse allegorical references, this stunning mural-sized painting embodies a vibrant strain in contemporary art from the Asia-Pacific region. While Tapaya does not shy away from drawing on the folklore of his native region, his is neither a naïve nor self-exoticising practice. The artist is audacious in his use of the Philippine mural tradition as well as Latin American magic realism and Bosch-like phantasmagoria. Anchored in a postcolonial setting but with far-reaching universal relevance, the work will surely provoke discussion about emerging aesthetic tendencies in Asia-Pacific. Together with the three Jurors' Choice Award winners, the prize-winning works are ground-breaking in their negotiation of cultural heritage and contemporary forms of expression. They are all worthy of recognition as being among the best art works from the region."
The 15 shortlisted artworks can be viewed at the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize 2011 Finalists Exhibition.