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An Art Prize for the Digital Age: Calling Southeast Asian Digital Artists for the Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize

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An exciting new art prize is on the horizon, and it’s specially created with the medium of digital art in mind.

Swiss private banking group Julius Baer recently launched their inaugural Next Generation Art Prize, which calls for submissions of digital art works by Southeast Asian artists aged 18 to 40 years old.

The art prize comes with a cash award of up to USD $15,000 (that’s a cool SGD $20,140 for our local readers) for the top winner of each of two categories: Still Image and Moving Image. Three winners will be selected from each category – runners-up of each category will each receive a cash prize of USD $10,000 (SGD $13,427) and USD $5,000 (SGD $6,713) respectively.

Works that take the form of digital paintings, video art and virtual reality artwork are all eligible for submission.

Digital creations must reflect at least one of the following themes: arising Asia, digital disruption, energy transition, feeding the world, future cities, sustainability, or shifting lifestyles and inequality.

Julius Baer is no stranger to organising and facilitating art prizes, albeit for different demographics and of different scope: the Julius Baer Art Prize for Latin American Female Artists promotes the creative development of women artists in Latin America, while the Berlin Prize for Young Artists is an international competition designed to support emerging musicians.

Why digital art, and why these themes for the Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize, then?

Juror Barbara Staubli, Curator of the Julius Baer Art Collection.
Juror Barbara Staubli is the Curator of the Julius Baer Art Collection. The Julius Baer Art Committee was established in 1981 with the mission of supporting artists through the purchase and display of contemporary Swiss art. The collection includes prominent artists such as: Pipilotti Rist, Sylvie Fleury, Peter Fischli / David Weiss, Silvia Bächli, John Armleder, Lutz & Guggisberg, Markus Raetz, Miriam Cahn, Shirana Shahbazi, Ugo Rondinone and Yves Netzhammer among others.

Juror Barbara Staubli remarks, “Julius Baer art prizes draw their themes from the recognition of the growing trends and needs of a specific region. In this case, the Next Generation Art Prize recognises the increasing importance of the digital image in contemporary art.”

“With a focus on Southeast Asia, we are excited to play a role in developing the region’s burgeoning art scene and promoting a culturally diverse and technologically advanced arts community. This is in line with a worldwide shift to focus on digital and technology’s value as a conduit of business and leisure that has seen attitudes and assumptions challenged by the advent of the pandemic,” says Jason Moo, Head of Private Banking Southeast Asia and Manager of Singapore Branch, Bank Julius Baer.

The panel of jurors for this prize include Barbara Staubli, Curator of The Julius Baer Art Collection based in Switzerland; Dr. Wiyu Wahono, Art Collector based in Indonesia; Dr. Cheryl Loh, Contemporary Art Collector and practicing doctor based in Singapore; Audrey Yeo, Gallerist of Yeo Workshop in Singapore, and Inti Guerrero, Curator based in Manila.

Curious as to what some of the jurors are looking for? Read on to find out.

Audrey Yeo, founder of contemporary art gallery Yeo Workshop at Gillman Barracks
Audrey Yeo is the founder of contemporary art gallery Yeo Workshop at Gillman Barracks since 2013. The gallery is dedicated to advancing art knowledge and access through education. Yeo Workshop represents local and international artists and has created unusual experiences, such as a pop-up exhibition with large scale installation at a warehouse conversion space at 2 Cavan Road, an artist talk in a car workshop, and performance art choreography within the gallery.

Speaking on the potential of the digital medium and her hopes of what she would like to see in the art prize, juror Audrey Yeo says, “The digital world is just at its beginning; it’s a baby. The potential is immense for the future. I would like to be rejuvenated and discover something new that was not previously fathomable in real life.” 

She encourages applicants to “use the opportunity not just for the prize money, but also the networking afforded by this prize.”

She explains further, “Market yourself and use it as a way to connect. Work towards the deadlines to create a project to develop your skills and knowledge.”

Dr. Wiyu Wahono
Dr. Wiyu Wahono is a collector born and based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He began collecting art in 1999. His basis for collecting is to reflect the zeitgeist, or spirit of the time, in not only traditional media but also contemporary media such as sound, light, digital and other new media artworks. His art collection has been exhibited in various places including National Museum Liechtenstein, the Ars Electronica Festival in Austria, Asia Society Museum in New York, and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa.  

Juror Dr Wiyu Wahono provides a savvy tip, saying, “You have nothing to lose by participating in all categories as only artists who win will be announced by name. Best of luck!”

He hopes to hope to see fresh ideas with no boundaries; artworks that captivate him.

Dr. Cheryl Loh
Dr. Cheryl Loh is one-half of the art collecting duo that forms the John and Cheryl Chia Collection. A psychiatrist by profession, she is a committed collector who has collected art for about 20 years. Alongside her husband, they have a collection comprising around 300 contemporary works from around Asia, including works by Tang Da Wu, Ho Rui An, Fyerool Darma, Manit Sriwanichpoom, and teamLab. Her preference in collecting art is to collect works across a range of media that encourage further discussions.

Regarding the relevance of this art prize, Dr. Cheryl Loh says, “I think art should reflect its times, and we live in digital times. We should necessarily explore this state we are in – how did we get here, why did we come in this direction, what have we left behind, what is it doing to us. And necessarily we must engage with the medium – both as artists and collectors – to answer this question together. The inherent qualities of the medium are part of the answer. Each material is representative of its time and human technological advancement and activity.”

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To find out more about the Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize, click here

This article is produced in paid partnership with Bank Julius Baer. Thank you for supporting the institutions that support Plural.

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