Eye On the Sovereign Asian Art Prize
Artist and author Zena el Khalil will discover on February 17, 2012 if she is the winner of the $25,000 Sovereign Asian Art Prize (SAAP) in Hong Kong. As a finalist for the award, she is the first Lebanese artist recognized by the prestigious award.
The Sovereign Asian Art Foundation, will auction all shortlisted artworks – with the exception of the winning piece – at a benefit dinner the same night the winner is announced. Proceeds from the sales will be shared equally between the artists and the foundation, which uses the money to fund various arts related charities.
El Khalil earned the SAAP nomination for her piece On some far away beach, which uses mixed media on canvas to re-stage traditional perceptions of an armed combatant. The gunman in el Khalil’s piece is in fact a Christian Lebanese militiaman, celebrated as a saint in Khalil’s work. A ring of light circles his head, evoking religious paintings of the Byzantine art period. His gun lies limp, with a spray of bright pink feathers and a pearl flower cheekily protruding from the muzzle, suggesting peace not war. On some far away beach is just one piece from a larger body of work in which militiamen are subverted and re-contextualized in playful and whimsical scenarios. The artist’s pluralistic vision allows even the most demonized in society to be represented and heard.
When asked about what the prestigious eastern prize means for her, el Khalil explained, “Living in Beirut puts me, geographically speaking, at the crossroads between East and West. I have been walking west for many years, and I am so happy to know that my path towards the east is finally happening.”
“Zena El Khalil will be showing at Art Dubai with Espace Kettaneh Kunigk and Galerie Tanit. - Siba Aldabbagh
Editors Note: On Feb. 23, 2012 the Sovereign Asian Art Prize made the following announcement:
We are delighted to announce that Jeong Mee Yoon has won the 2011 Sovereign Asian Art Prize. Her piece ‘The Pink Project II – Lauren & Carolyn and Their Pink & Purple Things’ received collectively the highest score from our world class judging panel led by David Elliot. The Scheoni Prize, that is decided by the public, was awarded to Chongil Woo for his art work ‘Women of the Joseon Dynasty’. Please click HERE to view both prize winners and the remaining 28 finalists art work.