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  • May 24, 2024

Weekly News Roundup: May 24, 2024

Portrait of CHIA-WEI HSU. Courtesy the artist and Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam.

Chia-Wei Hsu Wins Eye Art & Film Prize

Taiwanese artist and filmmaker Chia-Wei Hsu was awarded the 10th Eye Art & Film Prize, Amsterdam’s Eye Filmmuseum announced on May 17. Supported by the Amsterdam-based foundation Ammodo, the annual award includes a cash prize of EUR 30,000 (USD 33,000), to go toward producing a new work, and participation in a joint exhibition at the Eye Filmmuseum. Hsu is known for his video installations that  explore the cultural history and geopolitics of Southeast Asia, with past projects focusing on the border region between Thailand and Burma, veterans of the Cold War, and stories of local soldiers. Jury chair and Eye Filmmuseum director Bregtje van der Haak described Hsu’s practice as a “highly original fusion of archaeology and technology . . . Every new project is like the exploration of a new territory, diving deep into history and bringing it to life, using interviews, VR, cinematic language and archaeometric methods.” 

Portrait of ALIA FARID. Photo by Myriam Boulos. Courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

Alia Farid to Create Major Installation for Stanford University

On May 16, Stanford University’s Public Art Committee announced that a major artwork by Kuwaiti-Puerto Rican sculptor and filmmaker Alia Farid will be unveiled on its California campus in late 2024. Farid’s installation, Amulets (2024)will consist of two large totems made from a combination of modern and historical materials: the synthetic medium of polyester resin, and blue faience, an ancient material used to create ceramic glaze that dates back 6,000 years. Faience was invented in ancient Mesopotamia, (recalling Farid’s heritage from the region) and is often associated with water. Amulets thus symbolizes how countries in the region, including Kuwait and Iraq, rely on extractivist economies from oil revenue, which are known to degrade water supplies. Intended to provoke new ways of imagining human-environmental relationships, the installation is set to be on view for three years at Meyer Green park’s plinth in Stanford, replacing the inaugural Plinth Project commission Hello (2021) by Shanghai-based conceptual artist Xu Zhen.

SAMEEN AGHA, A Home is A Terrible Place to Love, red marble stone, 55 × 28 × 50 cm, 2024. Courtesy The Sovereign Art Foundation. 

Sovereign Asian Art Prize Awarded to Sameen Agha

Hong Kong-based nonprofit The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) has named Pakistani artist Sameen Agha as the Grand Prize winner of its USD 30,000 Asian Art Prize 2024—the 20th anniversary of the award. Her winning sculpture, A Home Is A Terrible Place to Love (2024), is made from red marble and appears like a house unfurling. Described by the artist as a “catalyst of emotions,” A Home reveals Agha’s introspection about her unstable place in the world. The SAF also announced two other prize winners: Hong Kong artist Michelle Fung was awarded the Vogue Hong Kong Women’s Art Prize of USD 5,000 for her work Red Bean Stalk (2024), a large wood carving that reflects the culmination of her two-decade-long drawing and printmaking practice. The Public Vote Prize (USD 1,000) went to Filipino multidisciplinary artist Demet for his oil painting PPE, Paint Palette Emulation (2024) that uses hyperrealism and trompe l’oeil techniques. 

Exterior of Don Gallery at West Bund, Shanghai. Courtesy Don Gallery.

Shanghai’s West Bund Evicts Galleries

Starting in June, numerous galleries and studios in Shanghai’s West Bund area will be evicted and allegedly slated for demolition, The Art Newspaper reported on May 22. Spaces compelled to relocate include Don Gallery, Aike Gallery, nonprofit Pond Society, artist Ding Yi’s studio, and the commercial gallery ShanghArt (which also maintains a project space in the M50 complex). Art fair and PR manager of Don Gallery Sylvia Sun told The Art Newspaper that they were notified of the eviction in March of this year, but future plans for the space are still left unclear. However, some neighboring spaces, such as the West Bund Art Museum and the Korean gallery Arario, will not be affected and will retain their venues. The cause of these mass closures and relocations are reportedly due to increased rent in the area, as loft offices for tech companies have become frequent occupants, despite the area’s development as the West Bund Cultural Corridor as part of the Shanghai 2035 masterplan. 

SHIREEN TAWEEL, Shoe Bathers, 2022, engraved and pierced copper, soap, and sound composition by Spencer Anthony Reid. Photo by Document Photography. Courtesy the artist.

Shireen Taweel Takes the 68th Blake Art Prize 

Lebanese-Australian, Gadigal Land-based artist Shireen Taweel, whose practice explores cultural heritage and identity, has won the 68th Blake Art Prize. Her winning sensory installation Shoe Bathers (2022) sought to elicit the experience of a hammam: public bathing houses and vital social institutions which have promoted hygiene and public health in the Middle East since ancient times. Shoe Bathers presents timber packing crates stacked with hand-made olive oil soap bars, crafted over many months, and two pairs of copper bathing shoes. It is accompanied by a fragrant atmosphere reminiscent of bathing rituals. The Blake Art Prize is offered to local and international contemporary artists in Australia who explore spirituality and religion, with the winner receiving a cash prize of AUD 35,000 (USD 23,000). The “68th Blake Prize” exhibition at New South Wales’s Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre will run until July 7, 2024.

MARTHA ATIENZA, Our Islands 11’16’58.4"N 123’45’07.0"E, 2017, single channel video: 72 mins. Courtesy Times Square Arts.

Martha Atienza and Catherine Dong at Times Square

New York’s Times Square Arts announced its showcase of artworks for Midnight Moment Summer Season, which will begin in June and run until August 2024. The digital public art program will present works from London-based artist and film director Marco Brambilla in June, Filipina artist Martha Atienza in July, and Chinese-born Canadian multimedia artist Chun Hua Catherine Dong in August. Atienza’s Our Islands 11°16’58.4"N 123°45’07.0"E (2017) reimagines a yearly local parade from the Philippines through performances by underwater compressor divers from Bantayan Island on the floor of the Visayan Sea, bringing to attention the threat of climate change that Southeast Asia is vulnerable to. The following month, Dong will present Mulan (2022), a reimagining of the eponymous legendary Chinese folk heroine that explores gender and the plasticity and plurality of the body through the use of virtual reality tools. The digital works will be broadcast nightly from 11:57 PM to 12:00 AM on more than 95 digital displays across Times Square.  

The 2024 Fellows of the Asian Cultural Council Hong Kong. Courtesy the Asian Cultural Council Hong Kong.

Asian Cultural Council Hong Kong Names 2024 Fellows

On May 22, the Asian Cultural Council Hong Kong (ACCHK) announced its nine 2024 fellowships: artist Chen Jialu, curator and writer Fang Yan, filmmaker Qian Ning, violinist Suet Yin Athena Shiu, moving-image programmer Jacqueline Wen Xi Tong, landscape architect Zhao Zhicong all received individual fellowships to various locations; and artist Isaac Chong Wai, composer Olivier Cong, and writer Jacqueline Leung will receive New York Fellowships. The fellowship program includes grants to enable cultural exchange through research in the United States or within Asia. As the New York and Individual Fellowships have disparate time frames, the durations range from six weeks to six months, and take place between August of this year and December 2025.

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