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  • May 15, 2014

Hong Kong Artist Adrian Wong Wins Sovereign Asian Art Prize

ADRIAN WONG, Untitled (GRATES III/IV: Golden Electrical Company / Sheng Kung Hui Kei Yan Primary School), steel, plastic, enamel, 152 × 152 cm. Image courtesy Sovereign Art Foundation.

Hong Kong artist Adrian Wong was announced last Friday, May 9, as the winner of this year’s Sovereign Asian Art Prize, receiving a trophy and USD 30,000. Previous recipients of the decade-old award  have mostly engaged with more conventional mediums, making the selection somewhat surprising. Wong himself, who creates conceptually rigorous sculptural and performance works, often in reference to Hong Kong’s history, remarked, “I had long thought that the prize was one that was reserved for painters—so I was honored even to be nominated. Winning the prize was not something that I had mentally prepared for.” 

Untitled (Grates lll/lV: Golden Electrical Company / Sheng Kung Hui Kei Yan Primary School), Wong’s winning sculptural work, depicts the artist’s perspective on Hong Kong’s public spaces, which are often highly compartmentalized, with certain areas only visible through distinctive metal grates. Wong observed that these ubiquitous structures act more as filters than dividers. The work was chosen from pieces by 30 shortlisted artists spread across 12 territories in Asia by a seasoned jury including Lars Nittve, executive director of M+ Museum for Visual Culture, Sunhee Kim, the director of the Daegu Art Museum in Korea, and the Singapore Tyler Print Institute’s director Emi Eu. The award makes Wong the second Hong Kong artist to win the prize following Map Office in 2013.

Founded in 2003 in Hong Kong, the Sovereign Art Foundation established the Sovereign Asian Art Prize with the aim of giving artists in the region wider international exposure. Each year, the remaining works are put up for auction and the proceedings are donated to charities worldwide. Over the past ten years, a total of USD 4.5 million has been raised by the foundation.

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