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Chinese Artist Li Hongbo Wins Asia’s Most Established Contemporary Art Prize

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Chinese Artist Li Hongbo Wins Asia’s Most Established Contemporary Art Prize
Posted on May 8, 2017

Li Hongbo 李洪波, Desire慾望, Metal 金屬, 35 x 9.8 x 1

Li Hongbo | Desire | Metal | 35 x 9.8 x 1.7 cm | Edition of 5

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Howard Bilton, President of Sovereign Art Foundation, with Curator and Judge David Elliott present the 2017 Sovereign Asian Art Prize to Artist Li Hongbo

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Judge Miao Xiaochun and Artist Li Hongbo

The Sovereign Art Foundation is delighted to announce that Chinese artist Li Hongbo has won the 13th annual Sovereign Asian Art Prize.

The Prize is Asia’s longest established and most prestigious award for contemporary art. Along with the title, Li Hongbo was awarded a trophy and USD 30,000 at the Foundation’s annual Gala Dinner and Auction on May 5 in Hong Kong.

Li Hongbo impressed the judges with his artwork Desire, which is the first 3D work ever to be awarded the Prize. In Desire, an array of carved silhouettes – figures of little men – extend from the blade of a metal knife. Each figure runs in line, each following after the other, seemingly chasing for a mutual objective. The sculpture addresses society with a warning – that human beings will eventually destroy themselves with their gluttony and their abuse of animals. Desire aims to draw attention to the human behaviour of seeking to accomplish one’s own desires by overpowering other living beings; and signifies that reckless cruelty may lead to dishonourable consequences.

Gary Mok Wai-hong, Hong Kong born artist, curator and long-time supporter of The Sovereign Asian Art Prize, nominated Li Hongbo into the Prize. An alumnus of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Gary is himself a former Sovereign Asian Art Prize finalist and since 2009 he has curated multiple high-profile exhibitions across Beijing, Hong Kong, Macau and Shanghai.

To reach the final shortlist, 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. A judging panel comprising world-class art specialists including noted writer and curator David Elliott; Chinese new-media artist Miao Xiaochun; Alexandra A. Seno, Head of Development at Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong; Michael Snelling, former Director and CEO of the National Art School, Sydney; and Jim Supangkat, Indonesian sculptor, art critic and curator shortlisted 30 finalists before flying to Hong Kong to complete the second and final round of judging in person.

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Artist Li Hongbo and the Prize-winning work “Desire

Born in Jilin, China, Li Hongbo gained his MFA in Experimental Art in 2002 from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. Li Hongbo’s works have been exhibited extensively around the world and are included in a number of important public collections in Asia and beyond. This is Li Hongbo’s first nomination into the Prize. Of his win, Li Hongbo said:

“I am very honoured and would like to thank The Sovereign Asian Art Prize and the panel of judges for awarding me this prize. This achievement is a very big encouragement for me and will drive me to work harder. I have decided to donate all the prize money to good causes. I would like to donate 50% of the prize money back to The Sovereign Art Foundation, to help and support their programmes for underprivileged children across Asia; and 50% to the Jilin Normal University for the teachers training programme, so they can continue to spread their love and knowledge to the next generation.”

quoted from Sovereign Art Foundation