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The Sovereign Art Foundation has revealed the top 30 finalists of The 2017 Sovereign Asian Art Prize – the 13th edition of Asia’s most prestigious prize for contemporary artists. A total of 66 independent art professionals from across Asia Pacific nominated nearly 300 mid-career artists into the Prize; resulting in more than 530 artworks entered from nominees around the region. This year’s judging panel comprises world-class art specialists including Alexandra A. Seno, Head of Development at Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong; noted writer and curator David Elliott; Jim Supangkat, Indonesian sculptor, art critic and curator; Michael Snelling, former Director and CEO of the National Art School, Sydney; and Chinese new-media artist Miao Xiaochun. Nominators are typically art critics, lecturers and independent curators who work closely with artists in their respective regions.


The selected artists represent the cutting edge contemporary art practice from the countries in which they work and reside. This year’s shortlisted artworks span a variety of mediums and include a piece made from hand-carved jackfruit wood; a pair of intricately embroidered rugs, a steel cabinet containing seven tiers of chromed found objects and a paper work crafted using holes from over one hundred and fifty thousand individual needle piercings. The 2017 Prize finalists are:



Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai – Vietnam

Zhou Hongbin-China

Chan-Hyo Bae- Republic of Korea

Fu Xiaotong- China

Boo Sze Yang- Singapore

Nasim Nasr- Australia

Yoko Fukushima- Japan

Sarah Choo Jing- Singapore

Saba Qizilbash- Pakistan

Anniketyni Madian- Malaysia

Sun Choi- Republic of Korea

Minho Kim- Republic of Korea

Peng Yong- China

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah- Australia

Youki Hirakawa- Japan

Imrana Tanveer- Pakistan

Yogie Achmad Ginanjar- Indonesia

Peng Yi-Hsuan- Taiwan

Chan Sai-lok -Hong Kong

Au Sow-Yee- Malaysia

David Chan Kian Wei- Singapore

Uji Handoko Eko Saputro a.k.a Hahan Indonesia Charwei Tsai -Taiwan

Bui Cong Khanh -Vietnam

Chan Dany -Cambodia

Kay Zhang Macau MAP Office [Gutierrez + Portefaix] -Hong Kong

Wu Didi -China

Li Yan- China

Li Hongbo-China


David Elliott, Chair of the judging panel, said of the 2017 finalists;


‘This year, with a record number of entries from nominated artists, the selection of the Sovereign Asian Art Prize has been a revelation. Not only has the region been covered in a more comprehensive way than before, but also a new generation of artists is starting to emerge that is impressive in the range and density of its work. This is clearly shown in the finalists in this exhibition.


The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF)’s portfolio of social responsibility projects include art empowerment programs geared towards Vietnam’s most vulnerable children, a music and arts programme for orphaned or abandoned children in Mongolia’s capital, arts healing projects for victims of human trafficking in Cambodia; and a youth-lead pilot project in rural Nepal that raises awareness of children’s rights. Often the children in these programmes are victims of human trafficking, hard labour, sexual abuse, drugs or violence. The Foundation uses art as a means of rehabilitating them, building self-confidence and encouraging them to return to education. Since 2013, SAF has focused on growing Make It Better (MIB), its own initiative designed for underprivileged children living in Hong Kong. SAF recognises the harmful social impact of the extreme economic disparity that exists in Hong Kong; and works to supplement the traditional education system by offering empowering learning activities reinforced by visual and expressive arts, to teach children self-awareness and confidence, help them to build respect for themselves and others, develop stronger focus, and engage with the wider community. The MIB programme is continuously growing and is now also working with children with special educational needs.

Howard Bilton, Founder and Chairman of SAF, said;

“We and our judges believe this selection of work is again extremely strong and original. Every year the work gets better. The artists are nominated by independent experts and then judged by independent experts. This guarantees the quality and gives our supporters the best possible chance of buying investment quality art and the next big thing… Instead of donations, we are providing an investment opportunity. This year the majority of funds raised will again be applied towards our Make it Better program. In one of the richest cities in the world we continue to be surprised to find that there is such an obvious and substantial need to assist children who are in need and impoverished. We hope that our generous supporters will share our belief in this and hope that once again our charity dinner will make an even greater difference.”


From April 19 – 21, 2017 all shortlisted artworks will go on show in The James Christie Room at Christie’s in Hong Kong. From April 25 – May 4, 2017 they will then exhibit at The Rotunda, Exchange Square. Here the public can view the works in person and cast a vote for their favourite piece to win the Public Vote Prize (votes will also be accepted via the SAF web gallery and Facebook page).


There will be a champagne opening of the exhibition at The Rotunda from 7pm on April 25, 2017 and the public are welcome to attend. The Grand Prize and Public Vote Prize winners, who will be awarded US$30,000 and US$1,000 respectively, will be announced at The Sovereign Asian Art Prize Gala Dinner and Auction on May 5, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. Here shortlisted artworks will be auctioned and proceeds split evenly between the artists and SAF’s charitable projects.


Tickets to the Gala Dinner can be purchased through the SAF website or by contacting Mary-Jane Wong at or +852 2542 1177.

Absentee bids on finalist artworks are welcomed and interested parties can send their bids to the same contact.


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