As the winner in the Established Artist category, Minh Tien will receive a cash prize of VND500 million (US$20,300) and will compete with winning artists from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand for the prestigious UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year 2023 Award.

UOB (United Overseas Bank) is a Singaporean multinational banking corporation.

The painter also stands a chance to be selected for a one-month residency program at the prestigious Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan. The 2023 UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award will be announced at an awards ceremony in Singapore on November 8, 2023.

Through “Thuy Phu – Water Palace”, artist Minh Tien conveys the concept of impermanence, illustrating the continual transformation of history and religion through the imprint of architecture. Using airbrush painting techniques, the artist skillfully creates the reflection of St. Joseph’s Cathedral on the hood of a car, as the cathedral casts its silhouette on the rain-slicked car windows.

Hanoi Cathedral is an example of French architectural influence in Hanoi, seamlessly blending Gothic design with indigenous elements. The artist deftly highlights the contrast between constructed heritage and the transience of time and memory of the monument, which was built on the foundation of the destroyed Bao Thien Tower of the Bao Thien Pagoda.

The image of the cathedral serves as a poignant representation of the dichotomy between material and spiritual values in today’s society, where materialism often overshadows the spiritual connections that bind people to each other and to the world around them.

Describing his artwork, artist Minh Tien said, “In Vietnamese, ‘Thuy’ means water, denoting flexibility, constant change, and impermanence. Water conveys the concepts of cleansing, soothing, and healing, washing away impurities and fostering creativity. ‘Phu’ means a dwelling place, symbolizing a geographical element. I hope my artwork can mend the traces of forgotten glory and present existence through the transformative power of water”.

According to artist Luong Xuan Doan, Chief Judge for UOB POY in Vietnam, this year’s winning artwork is praised for its innovative expression technique, which transcends the boundaries of conventional art by experimenting with new materials to convey a profound message.

“The content of the artwork carries a social theme and offers a close look at the changes in Vietnamese history and culture,” he said.

Victor Ngo, CEO of UOB Vietnam, shared that the competition provides a platform for artists to showcase their boundless passion and artistic ingenuity.

“The submissions delivered vivid, inspiring, and profound narratives on various aspects of life and societal concerns,” he said.

Established in 1982, UOB POY is the longest-running annual art competition in Singapore and one of the most recognized in Southeast Asia. Aimed at promoting the visual arts in the region and showcasing the talents of established and emerging artists, the competition has spotted over 1,000 artistic talents from across the region since its inception. Expanding to Vietnam this year, this flagship art competition reinforces the bank’s long-term commitment to supporting art and artists in Southeast Asia.