Vietnamese artist Phan Thao Nguyen won the grandest prize of the Signature Art Prize 2018 in Singapore on Friday with her artwork Tropical Siesta.
Four winners or the prize were announced Friday evening at an awards ceremony graced by Minister Grace Fu of Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
The two Jurors’ Choice Awards went to Singaporean artist Shubigi Rao’s Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book. Vol I: Written in the Margins (2014–2016), and Thai artist Thasnai Sethaseree’s Untitled (Hua Lamphong).
Indonesian artist Gede Mahendra Yasa’s After Paradise Lost #1 was awarded the People’s Choice Award for receiving the most votes by members of the public at the exhibition.
Commenting on her artwork wining the Grand Prize, with a cash award of S$S60,000, Phan Thao Nguyen said: “Winning the Grand Prize is extremely significant to me. Singapore is a place that has helped me develop and mature as an artist, as I spent a year stuyding here, and also completed an artist residency.
“My artwork, Tropical Siesta, is a video installation that explores hidden histories of Vietnam imaginatively through the lens of children. The artwork is not just about historical events, but also how an artist feels and sees a particular narrative, and develops it into the language of painting and video.”
Each winner of the Jurors’ Choice Awards receives a S$15,000 cash prize, while the winner of the People’s Choice Awards receives S$10,000.
Comprising a two-channel video and six oil paintings on x-ray film backing, Phan Thao Nguyen’s Tropical Siesta features an imaginary tale of a rural Vietnam populated only by children. Set in an agricultural community, they reenact the observations recorded by French Jesuit missionary Alexandre de Rhodes (considered) the father of the romanised Vietnamese script) as he travelled through Vietnam in the 17th century.
The artwork is part of her larger project, Poetic Amnesia, which is based on the artist’s research in Rhodes’ life and work.
The winners of the Grand Prize and Jurors’ Choice Awards were selected from 15 finalists artworks that are on view at the National Museum of Singapore until September 2, 2018. The works were assessed by a jury panel comprising well-known international art experts and practitioners in the field of contemporary art.
The 15 finalist works were chosen from 113 artworks nominated from over 40 countries and territories.
Inaugurated in 2008 by APB Foundation and Singapore Art Museum, this is the fourth edition of the triennial APB Foundation Signature Art Prize. The prize recognizes the most outstanding contemporary art produced over the previous three years across Asia Pacific, and, for the first time in its decade-long history, the region of Central Asia for this edition as well.
The Vietnamese-American artist collective The Propeller Group, with the artwork AK-47 vs. M16, was also among the 15 finalists of the prize.
Reported by Hanoi Grapevine from Singapore