Entries open for Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize

Awards now in their third year, having attracted over 40 submissions in 2014

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 August, 2015, 1:57pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 August, 2015, 6:05pm

Justice Centre Hong Kong is calling for entries for its annual Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize.

The prize, now in its third year, provides a platform for Hong Kong-based artists to explore human rights through the visual arts. Entries can be photographs, paintings, prints, digital work or video.

The winner will be announced, and shortlisted artworks sold, at a charity auction in December. The winner will  get HK$ 30,000 to support their work.

Last year’s prize attracted more than 40 entries from Hong Kong-based artists, both Hong Kong-born and from other countries including the  Philippines, Britain, Australia, the United States, South Africa and India. These were narrowed down to a shortlist of 16 by a panel of art experts and human rights specialists including "umbrella movement" artist and activist Kacey Wong, founder of Asia Art Archive Claire Hsu and High Court judge Kevin Zervos. The prize was won by Katie Vajda for her photographic work Can you see me yet?, which examines the neglect, abuse and lack of visibility of domestic workers in Hong Kong. 

“Winning the prize was wonderful, a strong validation of both my work and the pressing issues surrounding it. It was also a great honour to be among a group of artists making such powerful, socially and politically motivated art,” Vajda said.

Xyza Cruz Bacani was awarded last year’s Justice Centre Choice Award for her photograph BURN, depicting a fellow Hong Kong domestic helper whose back was burned after a pan of soup fell on her, and whowas denied medical attention by her employer.

“Through this prize I could plant seeds of awareness among the public, so they can’t ignore the abuse that happens behind closed doors. By raising awareness, slowly we can bring about change,”  Bacani said.

Adela Kamaragoda, of Justice Centre Hong Kong, said: “This is the only arts prize of its kind in Hong Kong, and through it, I hope we can give artists a platform to put the spotlight on issues they are passionate about that affect the rights of Hongkongers and those further afield.”

Shortlisted artists will donate their artwork to Justice Centre Hong Kong for auction, with the funds raised going towards projects to protect the rights of refugees and survivors of human trafficking.

Artists can submit entries at justicecentre.org.hk/artsprize - the deadline is September 20, 2015.