In 2004, the Prize focused on artists living in Hong Kong and Southeast Asian countries. Since then, organisers have been progressively expanding the award’s regional reach.

A press release by the Sovereign Art Foundation, dated 30 January 2013, announced the thirty finalists for this year’s prize. The list includes artists from six countries that have never been nominated as finalists: Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Oman, Nepal and Palestinian Territory.  

Said Stabekov, 'ORPESHE-FLAGS', photographic print, 70 x 104 cm. Image courtesy the Artist; Sovereign Art Foundation.

Said Atabekov, 'KORPESHE-FLAGS', photographic print, 70 x 104 cm. Image courtesy the Artist; Sovereign Art Foundation.

See the full press release from Sovereign Asia Art Prize below, which includes the full artist finalist list.

For immediate release




30 January 2013, Hong Kong – The Sovereign Art Foundation announced today the 30 finalists for the 2012 to 2013 Sovereign Asian Art Prize. Now entering its tenth year, the prize is Asia’s longest established and largest prize for the arts. The prize not only recognises and honours Asia’s most exciting talents but also raises substantial funds which are used to support disadvantaged children around the region, through charities using art as education, rehabilitation and therapy.


Entries were received from over 300 nominated artists from 25 countries, a new record for the prize. There was a marked increase in nominations from West Asian and Middle Eastern countries.


The winner will be announced at the annual Charity Gala Auction and Dinner on 21 February 2013 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong.


The 2012 to 2013 finalists are:



This year’s first prize is USD30,000. The events are sponsored by the Swiss’ leading private bank, Bank Julius Baer, for the third consecutive year.


The winning artwork will become part of the Foundation’s collection. The remaining 29 works will be sold by auction during the charity dinner with 50 percent of the proceeds going to the artist and the other 50 percent being used to support the charitable work of the Foundation. Since it was founded in 2003, The Sovereign Art Foundation has raised over USD3 million for community arts projects.


An exhibition of the thirty finalists work will be on show at the Rotunda in Exchange Square, Hong Kong from 1 to 8 February 2013. Continuing the Foundation’s desire to spread arts education, the exhibition will be free. To encourage engagement with the prize and increased exposure for the artists, the public are invited to vote for their favourite piece. This artist is awarded The Schoeni Prize during the Charity Gala event, and a prize of USD1,000.


The winning artist is selected by a group of influential judges, who travel to Hong Kong to view the exhibition and decide on a winner.


The prize judges are:



David Elliott, the Lead Judge of this year’s prize said, ‘This year’s selection of Finalists is of an impressive quality and geographical range. First nominated and then shortlisted by two separate panels of art experts, those who reach this final stage are undoubtedly among some of the very best emerging and mid-career artists working in Asia today.’


Howard Bilton, Chairman, The Sovereign Group: ‘Every year the work gets better and we raise more money which we use to help some of Asia’s least privileged young people. It is inspiring to see the arts being used to transform lives.’


Kaven Leung, CEO of Hong Kong & North Asia, Bank Julius Baer, said, ‘Julius Baer is delighted to continue to be sponsoring the Sovereign Asian Art Prize for the third year. We believe the arts have the power to inspire people and change lives. The company’s long term support of the arts reflects this deeply held belief. We celebrate the rise of these talented artists onto a global stage as consequence of their success from this renowned art prize.’


A virtual gallery of the shortlisted artists’ work will launch online from the 1 February 2013 allowing visitors to hear a commentary from each nominator who put forward a shortlisted artist for the prize. To view the gallery, please visit:


To vote for your favourite artwork, please visit:

What do you think of the finalist artists selected for this year’s prize? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.


Related Topics: art prizes, contemporary Asian artists, art world trends – connecting Asia to itself

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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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