Arts & CultureLIFESTYLENation

Solidarity – Through the Eyes of Artists 

One of Southeast Asia’s most prestigious annual art awards, the 10th UOB Painting of the Year, named Sabri Idrus’s artwork titled ‘Silent Fortress’ as the Painting of the Year today (November 20). 

The 49-year-old artist explained, “‘Silent Fortress’ represents a quiet space for each of us to reflect on being true to ourselves and to work towards being responsible to each other, thus strengthening our mutual bond as Malaysians. I am honoured to win the 2020 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) award and I am delighted that my artwork will represent Malaysia for the overall UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award.” 

Sabri Idrus – 2020 Painting of the Year Winner – Silent Fortress

The competition was an initiative by the United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Berhad (UOB Malaysia). 

“This year’s theme, ‘Solidarity’, is an effort to highlight the importance of unity through adversity. Through the eyes of the artists and their work, we hope to bring people together, particularly during this trying period, for the common good,” Wong Kim Choong, Chief Executive Officer of UOB Malaysia shared, citing that the Painting of the Year reflects the bank’s commitment to promoting art in the country in the belief that art unites, inspires and heals.

Bibi Chew, Chief Judge of the competition expressed, “The measures imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the community have impacted the Malaysian art scene with many large-scale exhibitions being postponed or cancelled. I commend UOB Malaysia for continuing its annual art competition despite these challenges. It has enabled local artists to share their voice and to stand in solidarity during these trying times.”

As for the emerging artist category, 25-year-old Khabir Ali Bin Roslan won the Most Promising Artist of the Year award for his artwork titled ‘Homeland Solidarity’. 

Khabir Ali Bin Roslan – Most Promising Artist of the Year Award – Homeland Solidarity

Opened for submission back in September, the flagship art programme accepted entries digitally for the first time this year in light of the pandemic. 

Although none of the current winners hail from Perak, there were two notable Perakean submissions in the past which emerged among the top. Husin B. Othman from Kuala Kurau was named Most Promising Artist of the Year in 2014 in the emerging artist category. Meanwhile, Nik Mohd Shazmie bin Nik Shairozi from Seri Iskandar was presented with the Gold Award in 2015 in the established artist category.

Art enthusiasts can check out UOB Art Explorer, an online visual arts programme which helps one to explore art from home through a comprehensive series of art tutorials, art therapy sessions, art storytelling and virtual exhibitions. Accessible to everyone, the same platform also displays the winning paintings of 2020: 


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