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Art in Generation Next

by Georgina Maddox

The new art season heats up as the International Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize is now open to Indian artists

Jimmy Lee, Head of Asia Pacific, Julius Baer

In the emerging art market it is important to have support to grow as an emerging artist, especially when one’s artistic practice does not necessarily check all the boxes of conventional ‘art’ which is mentored and supported by the gallery system. Art awards that address such needs play a vital and important role in the infrastructure and for the Indian art economy international support has a significant part and function.

The Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize returns for its second edition, expanding its reach beyond Southeast Asia to include artists from India and Greater China. The Prize is dedicated to artworks in the digital medium and will recognize next generation art talents in this digital age.

Entries are open from 19 October 2022 to 27 November 2022. From a prize pool of USD 60,000, six winners will be selected, each standing to win USD 10,000 and a place on a virtual Art x Tech Accelerator Programme led by a non-profit organization, The MeshMinds Foundation.

Last year Still Image Winners:

First place: Shwe Wutt Hmon (b. 1986) is a freelance photographer based in Yangon, Myanmar.

I Do Miss Hospital Visit (2020) Digital scan;

Julius Baer Next Generation Investment theme: Digital Disruption

The images in Shwe Wutt Hmon’s experimental self-portrait series, I Do Miss Hospital Visit, were created by scanning the scars on her own body, which she juxtaposed against withered flowers, old family photographs and personal CT scans accumulated from many years of hospital visits due to health issues.

Source Julius-Baer Artist©️_Shwe-Wutt-Hmo

Second place: Robert Zhao (b. 1983) is a multi-disciplinary artist and the founder of the Institute of Critical Zoologists.

And A Great Sign Appeared (Thailand- Singapore) (2021) Digital image;

Julius Baer Next Generation Investment Theme: Sustainability

As Robert Zhao relates it, an avian omen of sorts occurred in Singapore in late 2019: “On Dec 22, 2019, thousands of birds suddenly appeared in Singapore. They were Asian open bill storks, birds foreign to Singapore, hailing from the northern parts of Southeast Asia. Numbering in the thousands, they flew

around Singapore for a week looking for a space to stay. They were ultimately unsuccessful and left. And A Great Sign Appeared (Thailand- Singapore) is testament to the effects of broad environmental change in Southeast Asia.

Source Julius-Baer Artist©️ Robert-Zhao

Third place: Fajar Riyanto (b. 1984) was trained in photography at the Indonesia Institute of Fine Arts.

Dihadapan Harapan (In the Face of Hope) (2020) Digital image;

Julius Baer Next Generation Investment Theme: Future Cities

Fajar Riyanto’s home city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, has witnessed a boom in the tourism industry in recent years, with the construction of a new airport and hotels and the establishment of restaurants and other businesses. Symptoms of this tourism-oriented push include efforts by the municipal administration to revitalize the heritage district of the city, which is inhabited by descendants of servants of the historic Yogyakarta kingdom as well as working-class, low-income households. Here, Fajar has staged photographic tableaux of these families.

Source Julius-Baer Artist©️ Fajar Riyanto

Last year Moving Image Winners:

First place: Mark Chua and Lam Li Shuen (b. 1992 and 1996, respectively) are Singaporean filmmakers and artists whose work explores the possibilities of resistance in the presentation and production of narrativity.

The Cup (2020) Single-channel black and white video with sound;

Julius Baer Next Generation Investment theme: Arising Asia

The Cup is a surreal tale of a man with a brewing machine for a head. Discontent with the bland taste of his own brew, he sets about to improve its flavour. The work is a meditation on the flattening out of life during the pandemic, and was created entirely during the circuit breaker period in Singapore in 2020, born of the conditions of confinement.

Source Julius-Baer Artists©️ Mark Chua and Lam Li Shuen

Second place: Khiev Kanel (b. 1988) received degrees in computer science and auditing, but turned to photography in 2013. He uses various media to document and tell stories of personal, environmental, and social issues.

Pineapple Eyes II (2021) Found footage with sound;

Julius Baer Next Generation Investment Theme: Digital Disruption

Pineapple Eyes II explores one of the most pervasive, if invisible, facets of everyday life in the twenty-first century: how technology has enabled constant surveillance of our daily activities and movements. Working with security camera footage, Khiev Kanel reverses the vector of the gaze, making visible what is usually hidden, and upending our normal interaction with technology. Here, the observed observes the observer.

Source Julius-Baer Artist©️ Khiev Kanel

Third place: Arief Budiman (b. 1994) is a Depok-born, Yogyakarta-based artist, whose primary medium is the moving image. In addition to exploring forms spontaneously and intuitively, his practice is cantered on themes involving current lifestyles, politics or community behaviour and the influence of the Internet in his native Indonesia.

Adegan Yang Hilang dari Petrus draft #4 (Missing scene from mysterious shooter - draft #4) (2019) Single-channel video with sound;

Julius Baer Next Generation Investment Theme: Digital Disruption

Arief Budiman’s Missing scene from mysterious shooter - draft #4 is premised on the Petrus killings that occurred in Indonesia in the mid-1980s, the term Petrus stemming from the Indonesian phrase, penembak misterius, or mysterious shooter. The murders were a series of executions that took place between 1982 and 1985, with hundreds or thousands of criminals - the exact death toll is disputed - shot by undercover death squads, and their bodies left in public spaces as a warning to other criminal elements.

Source Julius-Baer Artist©️ Arief Budiman

For those who do not know, the Julius Bär Group AG (known alternatively as Julius Baer Group Ltd) is a private banking corporation founded and based in Switzerland. Headquartered in Zürich, it is among the older Swiss banking institutions. The banking corporation has a 130-year-old history but is very contemporary in its approach. The judging panel for this round includes artists Refik Anadol and Shubigi Rao, curator Fu LiaoLiao, Shivajirao Gaekwar from Sotheby’s, India, Theresa McCullough, Asian Civilizations Museum, and Simon Fisher from Ocula. The winners will showcase their concepts in a virtual and interactive art exhibition in July 2023.

Digital Disruption is the key phenomenon which is affecting every corner of our lives but besides the ongoing interest in the virtual world, artists have also been invited by the Julius Baer group to consider their long-term vision for the future, looking into the theme of sustainability. Other themes in consideration are the growing economies and the expanding middle classes of an Arising Asia. Energy Transition is another aspect that the artists are being encouraged to look into, the shift from fossil fuels to new sources of energy like solar and wind, hydropower and geothermal energy to name a few.

Other themes that the organization is suggesting are sustainable food production for a 10-billion world population by 2050 under the theme Feeding the World, the aging populations and extended longevity are altering global lifestyles, and finally the cities of the future are to be addressed, where one meets the challenges related to our city-centric world. Ours is a world where we need to address the rising sense of inequality where the rich are getting richer and the poor are facing greater challenges day by day. For the progress of the world we all need to contribute and bring about an equitable existence among our growing population.

At its core, the Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize is about elevating cultural diversity and technological advancement in the arts for young artists looking to build their body of artistic work and professional networks.

Approximately 100 applicants to the Prize will be long-listed in January 2023 and invited to attend virtual sessions, talks and workshops conducted by luminaries in the digital art world who are among our expert panel of judges, advisory board and mentors. The sessions are free to attend for invited artists, and they aim to enrich and fuel inspiration for young talent working with digital art mediums.

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Entries are open from 19 October 2022 to 27 November 2022.


Georgina Maddox is an independent critic-curator with almost two decades of experience in the field of Indian art and culture. She was assistant editor at India Today’s Mail Today and senior arts writer for the Indian Express and the Times of India. She is currently working in the media as an independent critic for various publications and has published articles in Open Magazine, India Today, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and also in Elle Magazine, The Hindu and Business Line, Sunday Magazine BLINK, TAKE on Art, Time Out, and online with US based E-magazine, Studio International, STIR world and MASH Mag.

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