Building a vibrant arts sector and enriching lives through art
Opening remarks by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, at the 2019 UOB Painting of the Year Awards Ceremony & Exhibition
06 November 2019
Mr Wee Ee Cheong
Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
United Overseas Bank Limited
Ladies and gentlemen
- Good evening. It gives me great pleasure to be here with you tonight at the 2019 UOB Painting of the Year Awards.
Arts and philanthropy: Through the years
- The vibrancy of our arts scene today is the result of those who believe in the arts, and the positive impact they can have on Singapore. According to the 2017 Population Survey on the Arts, more Singaporeans understand the value of the arts, with almost 9 in 10 Singaporeans agreeing that the arts allow them to better understand people of different backgrounds and cultures.
- At MCCY, we share this belief – the arts have the power to bring diverse people together, and deepen our sense of belonging to this nation we call home. Hence, we strive to make the arts accessible to everyone; at the same time, we want our artists to shine on the local and international stage. For this to happen, we need all stakeholders, including our arts patrons, working together to develop our arts scene and support our artists.
- For the past six years, we have witnessed increasing support for arts philanthropy from corporate donors and individuals alike. Such support is encouraging and contributes directly to the sustainability of the industry.
- The annual Patron of the Arts Awards bears testament to this – the amount contributed to the arts nearly doubled from $32.2 million in 2013 to $57.4 million in 2018. This growth was made possible by the generous contributions of new and long-term patrons. We hope that support from private sector donors will continue so that Singapore’s arts scene can continue to flourish.
UOB’s long-term commitment to art
- UOB is one of Singapore’s long-term arts patrons. In fact, UOB has been recognised by the National Arts Council as a Distinguished Patron of the Arts for the past 15 years. A stalwart of the local arts scene, UOB has led by example through its flagship arts competition, the UOB Painting of the Year. This annual competition is one of the most prestigious competitions in Southeast Asia. Past winners like Mr Goh Beng Kwan and the late Mr Chua Ek Kay are among some of the illustrious alumni of the awards who have gained great recognition in Singapore and abroad. The competition has also recognised established professionals who have contributed significantly to the development of Southeast Asia’s art scene. The competition is held not only in Singapore, but also in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. This has supported regional artists in building their rich cultural heritage. In turn, this has given Singapore the opportunity to appreciate exciting new works from the region every year.
- UOB’s contributions go beyond tonight’s awards. In January this year, UOB was the lead partner and sponsor for the inaugural edition of S.E.A Focus, an art fair curated to feature the best of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art. UOB’s support added to the vibrancy of S.E.A Focus’ offerings.
- In addition to supporting the visual arts, UOB has also been promoting arts education through programmes at schools and non-profit organisations. Programmes such as UOB Artist’s Conversation have made a meaningful difference to the lives of financially disadvantaged youth and children with special needs.
- On behalf of the arts community, I would like to thank UOB for your sustained contribution in forging a shared ownership of Singapore’s arts scene.
Painting a brighter future through arts
- With exciting events coming up such as the Singapore Biennale and Singapore Art Week 2020, I would like to thank our corporate partners for their contributions. We encourage and look forward to your continued support in building a vibrant arts sector.
- I would also like to congratulate in advance all UOB Painting of the Year Award winners. Just as previous winners have helped enrich our lives through art, I am confident that this year’s award-winners will continue to inspire us through their artistic expressions.
- To all the winners this evening, I wish you continued success in your artistic endeavours.
- Thank you.
Last updated on 08 November 2019