A Singaporean art collector and his family have launched a substantial prize for UK-based fine art students.

Singaporean Wee Teng Woon, a long-time collector of Buddhist antiquities, has collaborated with his brothers to establish The Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Art Prize at his alma mater, Northumbria University. The prize was inaugurated on 5 June 2012.

Collector Wee Teng Woon. Photograph by Moobe Fung.

Collector Wee Teng Woon. Photograph by Moobe Fung.

In sum, the five prizes total GBP40,000 and are named in honour of Woon’s family. The first place award, The Woon Tai Jee Art Fellowship provides one student with a GBP20,000 bursary at the BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art and, according to a news release from the university, the award recipient will “have access to dedicated studio space in Baltic 39 and benefit from a high-profile and experienced mentor”.

The second place Lim Ai Fang Art Prize and third place Cheong Kam Hee Art Prize provide students with GBP9,000 and GBP6,000, respectively. In addition, two other prizes, valued at GBP3,000 and GBP2,000 may also be awarded for runners-up at the discretion of the judges.

Fine arts students throughout the United Kingdom in their final year of schooling are eligible. All short-listed artists will be invited to exhibit their work at the university in the summer of 2013, prior to an award ceremony. The judging panel will consist of national, regional and international artists. The deadline for entries is 30 January, 2013.

Wee Teng Woon with Lucy Winskell, Northumbria UniversityPro Vice-Chancellor. Photograph by Simon Veit-Wilson.

Wee Teng Woon with Lucy Winskell, Northumbria University Pro Vice-Chancellor. Photograph by Simon Veit-Wilson.

Woon envisions the awards supporting emerging artists in today’s competitive art market. “For our art prizes, the whole idea is to spot young talents, guide and nurture them, provide them with good and sound training by leading academics and famous artists, exhibit the students’ works and give them a good start for their art career,” he explains.

Woon also seeks to spotlight the art community in the northeast of the United Kingdom. As he recently told British newspaper The Guardian, “This award is about recognising new talent while also enhancing the standing of the North East in the arts world.


Related Topics: emerging artistsfundingphilanthropistsprizes

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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