Arts, Culture & Lifestyle

UOB Malaysia launches the 2020 UOB Painting of the Year competition

Amid COVID-19 restrictions, the bank extends its reach in solidarity with Malaysian artists through digital submissions, along with the debut of the virtual UOB Art Explorer programme.
Reading time 3 minutes

As a leading bank in Asia and rated among the world’s top banks, United Overseas Bank (UOB) is also the pre-eminent patron of Southeast Asian art for more than four decades. Behind this long-standing commitment is the bank’s belief that art history gives people a sense of identity and perspective while helping to shape the present and create a future for the imagination.

Armed with a vision to encourage talented artists in their creative pursuits, UOB kick-started the Painting of the Year competition in Singapore in 1982, before introducing it in Malaysia in 2011. This annual competition is the longest running in the island state and among the most prestigious in the region.

1601634309031655 1
Cheng Yen Pheng, 2019 UOB Painting of the Year (Top winner), Tug of War: My Homeland

For 2020, UOB Malaysia is strengthened to continue its flagship art programme to uncover and to nurture artistic talent across the country. Given a landscape restricted by COVID-19, artists in Malaysia will be able to submit their entries for the 2020 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition digitally for the 10th edition of one of Southeast Asia’s most esteemed annual art awards.

The “Solidarity” theme of this year’s competition highlights the importance of staying united in the face of adversity. As such, emerging and established artists are invited to share their impressions to showcase the resilience of the human spirit in overcoming COVID-19-related challenges.

1601634343637270 2
Ong Hieng Fuong, 2019 UOB Painting of the Year, Gold Award, Town, No. 578 - Town, No. 578

“The beauty of art is that it transcends language, culture and geography. It also has the ability to bring people together. This year’s theme highlights the importance of the solidarity within the community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the power of art to unite people globally,” says UOB Malaysia CEO Wong Kim Choong. “Through the UOB Painting of the Year, we hope to uncover and to recognise talented artists in Malaysia, and also to lift the community spirit through the appreciation of art, especially during these trying times.”

Open now for submissions until 11.59pm on 11 October 2020, the 2020 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) competition will announce the winner at a virtual award ceremony in November. A cash prize of RM100,000 with a chance to compete for the prestigious UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award in Singapore (worth an additional US$10,000) awaits the winner, who will also be entitled to a one-month residency programme at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan.

1601634508953639 3
Haslin Bin Ismail, 2019 UOB Painting of the Year, Silver Award, Tulang Belut (Eel Bone)

To further reinforce its art-focused tradition, UOB Malaysia has also launched the UOB Art Explorer. The online visual arts programme is designed to bring the benefits of art into the homes of people around the world.

Its aim is to connect all, from children to adults, to new worlds and perspectives through its five art initiatives which are Art As Therapy, Art At Home, Art In Colour, Art In Story, and Art Virtually. Part of UOB’s broader global #UnitedForYou COVID-19 Relief Programme, the platform works to synergise the UOB network with its like-minded partners such as UOB Painting of the Year artist alumni to help see communities, customers and colleagues through to better times.

1601634556817319 4
Cheong Kiet Cheng, 2018 UOB Painting of the Year (Top winner), Through the Eye of the Flower

For further details of the competition, please visit

To take part in the five initiatives of the UOB Art Explorer, please visit




related posts

Recommended posts for you