Tan Juat Lee, Kit


The 23rd UOB Painting of the Year Competition and Exhibition
Kit Tan Juat Lee wins UOB POY the second time round

Her winning piece 'The World of Xi You Ji' is, at once, daring and spectacular but still Singaporean in theme and contentIt's also a strong year for the Junior Section, with entries of "stunning" quality that embody Singapore's future creativity17 July 2004, Singapore.

In its 23rd year, United Overseas Bank's Painting Of The Year Competition ("UOB POY") attracted a total of 773 entries from 460 participating artists this year.

Junior Section A record number of 171 entries from 137 budding young artists were received for the Junior Section of the Competition. Of this number, more than 120 or 75 per cent of the participants were taking part in the Competition for the first time.

With astonishing talent that belied their youth participants were all below 18 years of age this year's artists so impressed the judges with their submissions that the Junior Section was declared by the panel of judges as the "most breathtaking category and the most difficult to judge". Not least because of the wide age range the youngest entrant is only three years old but also because of the stunning quality of the works submitted, said Chief Judge, Professor Robert Ely.

Added the President & CEO of LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, "Their boldness and confidence with colour, and ideas ... lots of ideas ... They stunned the judges into relative silence with collective 'oohs!' and 'ahhs!' as each work appeared before us. Murmurings of 'I wish I could paint like that!' could be heard."

However, in the end, it was 17-year-old Ms Ivy Li Kexin's controversial 'Two Of A Kind' that got the judges' nod. "She impressed the judges with her adeptness in handling an adult theme with a level of maturity and skill that one would usually expect to find of artists in the Open Section," remarked Prof Ely. The painting features a woman in a provocative pose and what appear to be two quite different hands one male, the other female.

As The UOB Most Promising Young Artist this year, Ivy receives S$1,000 cash and The UOB Most Promising Young Artist Trophy.Open SectionIn the Open Section, which attracted 602 entries from 323 participants, it was Ms Kit Tan Juat Lee, 49, who walked away with the grand prize of S$20,000 cash and The UOB Painting Of The Year Trophy for her oil on canvas piece entitled 'The World Of Xi You Ji'.

This is the second time that Kit has won the UOB POY award (the first was in 1997 for 'Endless Love') and reinforces the objective of the UOB POY in recognising artistic talents.

'The World Of Xi You Ji' described by the judges as "spectacular" and "beautifully executed" is based on the classic 16th century Chinese mythological novel, 'Journey To The West' and the rebellious Monkey King.

In Kit's painting, several cheeky 'monkeys' are posed in the style and uniform of a school class photograph, reminiscent of the artist's youth. Each child is happily misbehaving, while the teacher sits demurely, oblivious to the chaos around her.

Having worked on the 119 cm by 149 cm painting for about five months, submitting it for the Competition was an eleventh hour decision, disclosed Kit, a professional artist. "I didn't think about taking part at first but I was very satisfied with the painting when it was finished. So one week before the closing date, I decided to submit the piece," she said.

"In Singapore, it's very difficult to exhibit big pieces unless it's a competition; so I decided to give it a go. Also, within the arts circle, it's a common belief that if you win a competition once, it's unlikely that you'll win again. So winning the UOB POY again was really unexpected. But Im very happy!"

Source: UOB press release