Art What! Arts Hong Kong

Art What!: 2021 Sovereign Asian Art Prize Shortlist and Charity Auction Announced

Image: Saudade, Rithika Merchant (Finalist, The 2021 Sovereign Asian Art Prize)
Courtesy of the artist and The Sovereign Art Foundation

Hong Kong – The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) has announced the names of 30 mid-career artists shortlisted as finalists for The 2021 Sovereign Asian Art Prize, the 17th edition of Asia’s most prestigious prize for contemporary artists.

Finalists in the running for this year’s Prize hail from 17 countries and regions across Asia-Pacific, of which Australia has the strongest representation with 5 artists shortlisted, followed by India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and South Korea with 3 artists each. Amongst the finalists, 28 artists have been shortlisted for the first time.

This year, The Prize also achieved a record breaking 744 entries from 30 countries and regions in Asia-Pacific. A total of 83 independent arts professionals – 32 of them new to the nominating board for 2021 and comprising curators and academics who work closely with artists in their respective regions – nominated 344 mid-career artists into The Prize. The 30 finalists were shortlisted by a panel of four world-class art specialists, namely: writer, curator, and museum director David Elliott; journalist and author Georgina Adam; abstract artist Zhang Enli; and art critic John McDonald. Nancy Lee, Chairman of Friends of Hong Kong Museum of Art, will join the panel as a Hong Kong representative for the final round of judging.

The finalists’ artworks will be presented to the public at 9 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong from 5th to 16th May 2021. The artworks will then be exhibited at Art Central at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 20th to 23rd May 2021. Visitors to both exhibitions will be invited to cast a vote for their favourite artist to win the Public Vote Prize. The exhibitions will be accompanied by an educational programme presented in collaboration with The Prize’s Educational Partner, K11 Art Foundation.

The shortlisted artworks are now available for bidding via an online auction at All proceeds will be split evenly between the artists and charitable programmes for disadvantaged children in Asia.

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