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Andy Dewantoro named finalist of Asia’s prestigious art prize

Stevie Emilia

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, March 18, 2019  /  08:48 pm
Andy Dewantoro named finalist of Asia’s prestigious art prize

Shortlisted: Artist Andy Dewantoro has been named one of the 30 finalists of The 2019 Sovereign Asian Art Prize, Asia’s most prestigious prize for contemporary artists. (Courtesy of Andy Dewantoro/-)

Indonesian artist Andy Dewantoro was named a top 30 finalist for the 2019 Sovereign Asian Art Prize, the 15th edition of Asia’s most prestigious prize for contemporary artists.

Andy made it onto the list for his 2017’s work, The Other Way, a captivating oil-on-canvas piece that plays on the contrast between dark and light, emphasizing that “if there’s light, there’s hope”.

“I’m happy I get onto the finalists’ list,” he told The Jakarta Post through a messaging app on Sunday from Belgium where he is on a work trip.

In contrast: Andy Dewantoro's 'The Other Way' emphasizes that “if there’s light, there’s hope”.In contrast: Andy Dewantoro's 'The Other Way' emphasizes that “if there’s light, there’s hope”. (Courtesy of Andy Dewantoro/-)

Through his work, Andy said he was trying to underline how the light was unknown without the presence of darkness.

“We are accustomed to the doctrine of darkness being the opposite of light. The fact is, light has no value without darkness and it works the other way around. Light is a solution to life in reaching hope, and darkness is the drive to a spirit in finding the light,” the 46-year-old said.

Andy, who studied interior design at the Bandung Institute of Technology in West Java, is not  a new name in Indonesia’s art scene, having taken part in many exhibitions, both at home and abroad, including in England, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Romania, Singapore, South Korea and the Netherlands.

The artist explained that his interest in landscape derived from his own want to communicate his thoughts and emotions through the language he knows best: art.

Driven by a myriad of thoughts, sentiments and memories, all churned together, his landscape painting delves into the emptiness of modern art evolution, reflecting an urban dilemma or worrying over human living spaces in a modern world.

In 2007, he said towns, downtowns, highways, abandoned buildings began to emerge in his works, inspired by his personal photographs, magazines, the internet and even movies.

“The bigger canvas I paint on, the more details and forms began to speak and represent my thoughts,” Andy says.

The prize’s 30 finalists were nominated by over 70 independent art professionals – mostly art critics, lecturers and independent curators who work closely with artists in their respective regions.

This year, the Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF), which announced the list of finalists on March 14, disclosed that 400 mid-career artists from 28 countries were nominated for the prize. SAF, a charity founded in 2003 in Hong Kong, organizes the prize annually with the purpose of raising money to help disadvantaged children.

The entries were then shortlisted by an international panel of world-class art specialists, including writer, curator and museum director David Elliott; arts editor of the Financial Times Jan Dalley; Mami Kataoka, deputy director and chief curator at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Hong Kong architect, artist and educator William Lim; and internationally renowned artist Zhang Huan.

The 30 finalists – 18 men and 12 women – represent 19 countries, making it the most geographically diverse shortlist in the prize’s history.

The selected artists represent cutting-edge contemporary art practices from the countries in which they reside, with their artwork exploring a wide range of subject matters, from identity, cultural heritage and diaspora to urban development and the spatial rhythms of modern cities.

“This must be one of the most diverse manifestations of art from Asia. As many of these artists are still emerging on the international scene, it is a great opportunity to discover their work," said Elliott, who chairs the judging panel.

The 30 shortlisted artworks will be displayed in Hong Kong in two places: in the historic Central Magistracy building on April 6 to 14 and later at the HART Hall from April 17 to 29.

This year also sees the launch of The Vogue Hong Kong Women’s Art Prize, to be presented in partnership with the newly launched Vogue Hong Kong, which will award US$5,000 to the highest scoring female artist in the competition (except for the Grand Prize Winner).

The Grand Prize and Public Vote Prize winning artists, to be awarded $30,000 and $1,000 respectively, will be announced along with the winner of the Vogue Hong Kong Women’s Art Prize at The Sovereign Art Foundation’s gala dinner and auction on May 17.


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