UOB Painting of the Year Award provides global opportunities for Vietnamese artists

The international painting competition presents an excellent platform for young local artists to display their skills and solidify Vietnam's position in the global art scene. It is truly a remarkable opportunity for them to shine and leave their mark on the international art market.


Until March 31, Hanoi’s art-loving public and international visitors can enjoy the breathtaking winning paintings of the first UOB Painting of the Year (POY) Award in Vietnam at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.

Trinh Minh Tien, winner of the UOB Painting of the Year 2023, showcased his spray-painted masterpiece titled “Thien Hau Pagoda” on a car bonnet.

According to the organizers, the exhibition offers a diverse range of artworks that employ various materials and techniques, including paint on bonnets, oil on canvas, and oil wax. These works carry profound messages about life, people, and society.

The exhibition features eight winning paintings, along with other works by the eight winning artists of this year’s UOB Painting Award.

Artist Luong Xuan Doan, Chairman of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association, stated that the prize serves as a driving force, helping young Vietnamese artists gain strength and courage in expressing their inner selves and showcasing their ideas and artistic talents to the world. He believes that it can trigger a ‘revolution’ in painting among the young Vietnamese painting community in terms of visuals, ideas, and artistic language.

Trinh Minh Tien, the top winner in the Established Artist category of the award, expressed his gratitude towards the competition, emphasizing its significance as a platform that encourages young artists to develop their careers. He believes that the competition provides great motivation and opportunities for shining in the field of art.

“Robot Meal” by painter Duong Ngoc Tuan.

Ta Duy Tung, winner of the 2023 UOB Most Promising Artist of the Year (Vietnam) in the Emerging Artist category, expressed his gratitude for the motivation he received from winning the competition. He stated that winning the award reminded him of his strong love for art in his 20s, which he thought he had forgotten for a long time.

Previously, an UOB Painting Award exhibition was held in Ho Chi Minh City in November 2023. After Hanoi, the exhibition will move to the Hue Museum of Fine Arts in Hue City from April 17 to 30.

Established in 1982, UOB Painting of the Year is the longest-running annual art competition in Singapore and one of the most prestigious in Southeast Asia. The competition aims to promote the visual arts in the region and showcase the talents of established and emerging artists. Since its inception, the competition has revealed over 1,000 artistic talents from across the region. With its expansion to Vietnam in 2023, the UOB Painting of the Year reinforces the bank’s long-term commitment to supporting art and artists in Southeast Asia.

Below are some distinct artworks that express the thoughts and concerns of talented young Vietnamese contemporary artists:

“Water Palace” or “Thuy Phu” by Trinh Minh Tien

“Water Palace” or “Thuy Phu” depicts an ethereal vision of St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi, with raindrops on the windshield. Trinh Minh Tien recreated this scene on a car bonnet. The cathedral was built on the foundations of the destroyed Bao Thien Tower of the Bao Thien Pagoda. This painting creates a surrealistic representation within a realistic setting, juxtaposing historical human-made structures with the concept of impermanence.

“Beings Painting” or “Hoa chung sinh” by Pham Tran Viet Nam portrays bruised faces in battle, children in war, medieval beggars, miners, and innocent individuals struggling to survive in a complex world.

“Beings Painting” or “Hoa chung sinh” by Pham Tran Viet Nam.

The artist’s compositions convey humanitarian messages rooted in compassion, conveying emotional resonance towards social situations and suffering in the world. Pham Tran Viet Nam incorporates sewing, embroidery, patchwork, and perforations in his artwork, which adds a sculptural quality to his paintings.

“The World” or “The Gioi” by Duong Ngoc Tuan

“The World” or “The Gioi” by Duong Ngoc Tuan employs expressive and surreal visual language within an abstract and ambiguous space, using rich monochrome brushstrokes. This artwork represents a thematic departure from the peaceful and realistic paintings that have long been associated with the artist’s practice.

“Lost” or “Lac loi” by Nguyen Huu Tang is a call to end animal cruelty in luxury fashion. The painting depicts hunted species, stripped of their fur and enduring emotional stress and deprivation. The artwork highlights the need to value and cherish all forms of life in order to maintain the natural balance of our planet.

“Lost” or “Lac loi” by Nguyen Huu Tang.

“Decelerated Reality” or “Hien thuc cham lai” by Lai Dieu Ha reflects the artist’s personal history, approach, and creative process. It demonstrates the enduring anguish of loss due to conflicts and chaos and the willingness to take risks beyond safe boundaries.

“Decelerated Reality” or “Hien thuc cham lai” by Lai Dieu Ha.

“Existence of Will” or “Su ton tai cua y chi” by Ta Duy Tung.

“The Door” or “Canh cua” by Nguyen Huu Tang.

“Beneath the Skin” or “Phia duoi lan da” by Lai Dieu Ha.