Three Thais on top

Will Prudential Eyes gaze upon the Land of Smiles this year?

The Prudential Eye Awards, a prestigious art competition celebrating Asia's up-and-coming contemporary artists, returns for its third year, and we can't help but notice three Thai names on the shortlist (because who doesn't notice Thai names?). So, we've asked Tawan Wattuya, Sutthirat Supaparinya and Anupong Charoenmitr to give us a little show-and-tell about their pieces.

Tawan, Best emerging artist using painting

I wanted to understand Thai society, so I researched our history, first examining each of our prime ministers. This became my first painting. For the second painting, I found inspiration from our history of Miss Thailand, and for the third, I decided to portray obedient young citizens as the outcome of Thai society. As a whole, my piece is my depiction of fathers, mothers and children in Thai society.

Sutthirat, Best emerging artist using digital/video

I wanted to invite the audience to witness with me the two most fragile landscapes in Thailand, and I wanted to show that human and industrial activities take place right on these active fault lines. Obtaining permission to enter the premises of the locations I portrayed was difficult, because organisations were concerned about their reputation.

Anupong, Best emerging artist using digital/video

The two pieces I have created for the competition are Clock and To Face. Both observe similar idea structures. However, each takes the audience into situations that progress differently. Clock taps into the progress of time and how interactions are intertwined with situation. To Face, on the other hand, brings the audience into a confrontation in which the outcome of the situation comes about in a manner of life's mysteriousness and uncertainty. The inspiration of my work stems from a personal experience in which I found myself helpless to negotiate.

We separately asked Tawan, Sutthirat and Anupong to name another artist in the competition with whom they were particularly impressed. All three said Robert Zhao, whom has been shortlisted in photography. #onetolookoutfor

Works of all 15 finalists from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Japan, India, Bangladesh and Singapore will be on display at ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, from Jan 16-Mar 27. The winner, to be unveiled on Jan 19, will have their work exhibited at Saatchi Gallery in London. Visit

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