MR. FENG BOYI China
Mr. Feng Boyi is an eminent independent art curator and critic of Chinese contemporary art. He has also worked closely with Ai Weiwei on publications and exhibitions projects. Additionally, Mr. Feng has edited and published numerous books, catalogues and papers on art and established the Artists’ Alliance, a major online forum for contemporary art in China.
“An important factor when planning an art prize is to ensure the procedure is standardised and rigorous. The art prize has to possess authority and representation, so that the public knows for certain that the selection process is conducted well and the selected works are worthy of being in the top 15 or winning a prize. The choice of having only two Juror’s Choice Awards is a step towards this rigour and a prize that has a higher academic value and authority, while still being representative. I am happy with our choices, and the panel has chosen artists that use varied mediums including installation, performance, video and painting.”
MS. LUCKANA KUNAVICHAYANONT Thailand
Ms. Luckana Kunavichayanont has been the director of the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre (BACC) since 2011. From the mid-1990s to 2003, she was Artist Director of Tadu Contemporary Art, curating many exhibitions of emerging Thai artists. Ms. Kunavichayanont is also guest lecturer in Arts Management at Silpakorn University.
“As judges from different regions, we had a good debate over any uncertainty and in the end we managed to decide quite unanimously. We live in a globalised world, and face the same problems like identity, immigration, urban expansion, depletion of natural resources, old values that disappear and cultural diversity and all the issues that come with evolving human society. Yet, in different places these issues have their own cultural history and background, while going back to basic questions and issues common to humanity. It’s interesting to see how art can be a process that sheds light on understanding our own societies.”
DR. SUSIE LINGHAM Singapore
Dr. Susie Lingham, the current director of SAM, is a writer-artist, art theorist and art educator. Her interdisciplinary work and philosophical inquiry synthesises ideas relating to the nature of mind across different fields, from the arts and humanities to the sciences. A member of the Singapore Biennale 2013 Advisory Committee, Dr. Lingham also oversaw the running of the Singapore Biennale (2013), which was organised by SAM.
“Contemporary art encompasses a myriad of forms and materials, as well as different innovative methodologies. Coupled with the fact that the Asia Pacific is a vast geographic and culturally diverse region, what this prize does is bring together the very best of contemporary art. As judges, we worked together, guided by exacting criteria, where the emphasis was on originality, depth and significance of the aesthetic experience as intended by the artist. The finalists’ works bring fresh perspectives into an evolving understanding of ourselves as complex cultural, emotional and intellectual beings. Definitely something to look forward to!”
MR. CHRIS SAINES Australia
Mr. Chris Saines is the Director of the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). Under his tenure, the Gallery introduced the Auckland Triennial – a multi-venue festival of international art – and drove support of contemporary New Zealand artists through the Walters Prize. At QAGOMA, Mr. Saines continues to oversee the museum’s highly established Asia-Pacific Triennial of the Contemporary Art.
“The 15 Finalists form a strong shortlist, and will be a very fine exhibition. There is a real diversity of medium, approach and conceptual investigation, which will be a rich and rewarding experience for visitors. Art prizes don’t always deliver great experiences, but this is different. Prizes should also educate visitors about contemporary practice and the approach in the region. Both the Grand Prize and the Jurors’ Choice Awards are generous, and that is good. Regardless, exhibiting at SAM will add to prominence to the Finalist artists. It’s excellent that SAM has invited museum directors to the jury panel, as they understand the space considerations as well as the political dynamics of institutions.”
MS. POOJA SOOD India
Ms. Pooja Sood is the Director of KHOJ International Artists’ Association, an autonomous, artist-led, registered society aimed at promoting intercultural understanding through experimentation and exchange. It is presently the only such public organisation for experimental contemporary art in India. She is committed to developing infrastructure for the arts in India and developing on-going dialogue in and across South Asia.
“Any pool of nominations in general has the potential to be uneven because it covers so many countries, but overall the nominators did their job and proposed works of very high quality, so getting down to 40 and then to the 15 Finalists was tough. The video works in particular were very, very good. I think it is important that when you ask nominators for (works from) the last three years that the range has to be from senior to mid-career, cause I think the junior ones could just be doing a one-off work. This is an expensive prize and needs to be given that status.”