Thai artist’s portrayal of a world with tensions and challenges wins 2022 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year

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    03 November 2022

    Singaporean artists Lester Lee and Dillon Poh clinched top awards in the 41st UOB POY (Singapore) competition. The Bank also launched its first foray into the metaverse, ‘SkyArtverse by UOB’, presenting all 2022 winning UOB POY artworks.


    Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law, and Mr Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, UOB, with winning artists at UOB Painting of the Year Award Ceremony


    Singapore, 3 November 2022 – Thai artist Mr Chomrawi Suksom, 28, won the 2022 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year (POY) award for his artwork titled Dystopia. His piece was chosen from among the country winners of the 2022 UOB POY competitions held in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.


    2022 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year
    Dystopia by Chomrawi Suksom


    Composed with acrylic, oil, and gold leaf on canvas, Mr Suksom’s artwork took one year in the making, and explores how the constant developments and changes experienced by our society today can lead to social tensions. The piece not only conveyed a strong message by bringing attention to pertinent human struggles in a complicated world, the great techniques used and intricate details portrayed in the artwork were simply outstanding. He shared, “We are forced to constantly learn and adapt to keep up with life, due to issues such as global conflicts, pandemics and natural disasters, and I wanted Dystopia to capture that loss, chaos, and tension felt by the people.”


    Mr Suksom is a professional artist who has won many art competitions in Thailand from 2015 till date, with his artworks showcased in many renowned exhibitions in the country. He and the other three country winners will stand a chance to attend a one-month residency programme at the renowned Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan.


    The judging panel for the 2022 UOB Southeast Asian POY comprised of the Chief Judges from each of the four participating countries: Dr Bridget Tracy Tan (Regional and Singapore Chief Judge), Dr Agung Hujatnikajennong (Indonesia Chief Judge), Ms Bibi Chew (Malaysia Chief Judge) and Mr Amit Chusuwan (Thailand Chief Judge).


    The 41st UOB POY Awards Ceremony was held at Victoria Theatre today and livestreamed on UOB YouTube. The awards ceremony was graced by Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law.


    As the world emerges from the pandemic, the competition entries this year reflected not just resilience and unity in the face of adversity, but also the people’s hopes and dreams for the future. This year’s entries provided a glimpse into artists’ interpretation of pertinent themes like environmental sustainability and global tensions.


    Mr Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, UOB, said, “Art inspires and connects people, reflecting culture, identity and aspiration. Guided by our Purpose of ‘Building the future of ASEAN’, we are committed to doing right by the art community in the region, uncovering and nurturing talents, and providing them with opportunities to showcase their creativity. Our partnership with the National Arts Council Singapore to foster a thriving art ecosystem in Singapore, and the expansion of UOB POY competition to Vietnam next year, are part of our continuous efforts to enable artistic talents in the region to scale greater heights.”


    Veteran Singaporean artist wins the top award for 2022 UOB POY (Singapore), Established Artist Category

    2022 UOB Painting of the Year (Singapore), Established Artist Category – Top Winner
    A Painting about Nothing and Everything by Lester Lee


    Singaporean artist Mr Lester Lee, 58, was awarded Top Winner in the Established Artist Category in UOB POY Singapore for his painting “A Painting about Nothing and Everything”. He is a three-time award recipient of UOB POY (Singapore).


    Mr Lee’s painting used a juxtaposition of everyday items to illustrate how there is “no preconceived idea or concept” in his artwork, and to depict the importance of being present. He said, “We live in a fast-paced world where stillness and rest are hard to come by. My artwork is an invitation for viewers to live more mindfully, to be fully present and to appreciate what is truly important.”


    Joining the six winning established artists were six aspiring artists recognised in the Emerging Artist Category of the 41st UOB POY (Singapore) competition. In addition to the Singapore winning artists, regional winners from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand also attended the award ceremony and showcased their winning artworks.


    Young artist wins 2022 UOB Most Promising Artist of the Year (Singapore) award

    2022 UOB Painting of the Year (Singapore), Emerging Artist Category – Top Winner
    Most Promising Artist of the Year, Greying by Dillon Poh


    19-year-old Mr Dillon Poh, the youngest winner of UOB POY (Singapore) this year, bagged the Most Promising Artist of the Year (Singapore) award. His monochromatic artwork, Greying, highlights the plight of those who go unnoticed in society. Mr Poh said, “The winning artwork is a commentary on the fast-paced society we live in, where the elderly tends to get neglected. My purpose is to lend a voice to the voiceless. The mundanity of the work is reflective of the loss of identity and lack of attention given to the greying population.” At the award ceremony, Mr Poh’s trophy was received on behalf by his father as he was serving National Service overseas.


    Doing right by the art community

    Over the past four decades, UOB remains steadfast in doing right by the art community, championing Southeast Asian art and artists across the region. In recognition of our long-term support for visual art in Singapore, UOB has been conferred the Distinguished Patron of the Arts Award by the National Arts Council (NAC) Singapore for the 18th time this year.


    UOB and NAC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last month to form a strategic partnership to develop financial and business competencies of the Singapore arts community, and to support the development of a vibrant arts scene in Singapore. UOB and NAC will co-fund $240,000 for acceleration programmes to benefit 150 artists and 60 arts groups over three years, achieving three areas of social impact that include growing the value of the arts, expanding its outreach to new audiences and promoting the wellness of art.


    Launched ‘SkyArtverse by UOB’ in the metaverse

    To elevate forward thinking in visual art, UOB will showcase all 2022 UOB POY winning artworks (see Appendix) from the four markets on the metaverse – ‘SkyArtverse by UOB’, which was launched in Decentraland at the 41st UOB POY Award Ceremony today. This is UOB’s first foray into the metaverse via an immersive art theme park, where visitors will be able to view all 37 winning artworks and hear the artistic journeys of the UOB POY artists. Through this initiative, UOB hopes to present a differentiated virtual art experience for the public to broaden our engagement with them, while providing new opportunities for UOB POY artists to share their artworks globally. The public will be able to access SkyArtverse via a link on from 3 November 2022.


    The 2022 winning artworks will also be exhibited at the UOB Art Gallery at UOB Plaza 1, Ground Floor from 5 November 2022 to 19 February 2023, as well as on


    1Mr Lester Lee has also won the Gold Award, Established Artist Category in 2021 and 2013 UOB POY (Singapore).

    2Under the MOU, UOB’s innovation accelerator, The FinLab, will be running the UOB-NAC Acceleration Programmes for the Arts to equip arts organisations and artists with skills in business finance, business management and development and digital marketing.



    About UOB
    UOB is a leading bank in Asia. Operating through its head office in Singapore and banking subsidiaries in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, UOB has a global network of around 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Since its incorporation in 1935, UOB has grown organically and through a series of strategic acquisitions. Today, UOB is rated among the world’s top banks: Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA- by both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings.


    For nearly nine decades, UOB has adopted a customer-centric approach to create long-term value by staying relevant through its enterprising spirit and doing right by its customers. UOB is focused on building the future of ASEAN – for the people and businesses within, and connecting with, ASEAN.


    The Bank connects businesses to opportunities in the region with its unparalleled regional footprint and leverages data and insights to innovate and create personalised banking experiences and solutions catering to each customer’s unique needs and evolving preferences. UOB is also committed to forging a sustainable future through working with its stakeholders to create positive environmental impact, fostering social inclusiveness and pursuing economic progress. UOB believes in being a responsible financial services provider and is steadfast in its support of art, social development of children and education, doing right by its communities and stakeholders.


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