Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kumi Machida Named 2007 Sovereign Asian Art Prize Winner

Kumi Machida Named 2007 Sovereign Asian Art Prize Winner

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Kumi Machida, A Boy and Girl.

HONG KONG.-On 21st September, Kumi Machida from Japan was named the 2007 Sovereign Asian Art Prize Winner. The prize attracted 670 entries from artists who are already well established in their own countries but want some international exposure.

Kumi’s work, A Boy and Girl, was the unanimous choice of the judges-David Elliot, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Istanbul, Bridget Tracey Tan, Director of Nanyang Fine Arts Academy in Singapore, Victoria Lu from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, Pamela Kember, Art Historian and Critic from Hong Kong and Jean-Baptiste Debains, President of Louis Vuitton Asia Pacific.

Kumi Machida has won several awards in Japan and has shown in galleries throughout Tokyo and in Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Her lithographs were recently added to the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

On winning the 2007 Sovereign Asian Art Prize Kumi said, “I am happy to receive this prize, which is a great honour for me. I have the fortunate opportunity for my work to be appreciated. The prize will be a big boost for my career.”

Kumi Machida was nominated by Japanese art critic, Satoru Nagoya. “When I decided to nominate Kumi for the 2007 Sovereign Asian Art Prize, I was certain that her style could evoke the deepest feelings of people of all cultural backgrounds. Few other artists today have such a command of making lines and shades which tell intricate and infinte tales of humans.

Machida’s winning the grand prize attested to my estimate. I believe that her work not only touched the hearts of jury members and audiences, but also revived artistry and elegance in contemporary art, which tends to be just crude and showy.”

Kumi Machida received US$25,000 cash prize from the Foundation.

The Schoeni Prize, decided purely by public votes went to Haris Purnomo from Indonesia for his painting, Child in Red.

Sponsors Louis Vuitton created an additional prize by inviting the 30 finalists to submit an extra work. The winner of the Louis Vuitton Prize was Hong Kong’s own, Simon Birch.

All but the winning work were auctioned during the evening at a gala dinner for 330 guests hosted by Louis Vuitton at the Four Seasons Hotel. Quek Chin Yeow from Sotheby’s conducted the auction which raised US$368,500, and included a surprise bid for a one off shirt painted that day by Simon Birch.

The Sovereign Art Foundation Chairman, Howard Bilton commented “We are very pleased to have raised a substantial sum of money to apply to our designated charities. The artists get half the money bid for their painting- as they would if they sold through a gallery- but we generally get much better prices due to the generosity of our patrons. So, the artist makes more, gets international exposure and assists good charitable causes. It is a win win situation for everyone.”

Some artists achieved record prices: Haris Purnomo’s Child in Red estimated at US$4,500 – 5,500 sold for US$30,000 and Zhao Fang’s Fist Power Series No. 9B estimated at US$10,000 – 12,000 and reached US$47,000. Full auction prices are attached.

The proceeds of the evening will benefit the Hong Kong Youth Arts Festival who will apply the funding to an arts programme working with disabled children and M’lop Tapang a community centre set up by the ADM Capital Foundation in Southern Cambodia who will use the arts to teach new skills to disadvantaged and homeless children. In short the proceeds will give a chance to those who would otherwise have none.

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