Four Hong Kong artists are on this year's list of 30 finalists vying for the region's biggest art award, the Sovereign Asian Art Prize.
And some of them took the opportunity to call for better funding and support for artists in the city, saying the private sector could not continue to drive development in the arts.
Among the award finalists announced yesterday were local artist Lam Tung-pang's plywood landscape painting Travel and Leisure 280612012.
Movana Chen's Art Diary - Issue 1, a large work knitted from the shredded pages of her favourite Asian art magazines, is on the list as well. Also shortlisted is the MAP Office - the Hong Kong-based duo Laurent Gutierrez from Morocco and France-born Valerie Portefaix - for Back Home with Baudelaire No. 5 (2005), a photography work of a cargo ship's voyage from Yantian port in Shenzhen to Hong Kong. Morgan Wong is in contention with a conceptual digital print work exploring interpersonal space.
Other finalists from across the Asia-Pacific region included Taiwan's Charwei Tsai, whose work Etrangere II is a photograph of a baby octopus on which she has written her passport number to express the feeling of alienation.
Natural Wonder, an oil painting by Australian artist Marc Standing, was also selected. The award was founded by the Sovereign Art Foundation in 2004 and is funded by Swiss private bank Julius Baer. Hong Kong artists have won the prize many times in previous years.
The winner will be unveiled at a charity gala dinner on February 21 and their works will be kept in the foundation's collection. The other works will be auctioned, with half of the proceeds going to charity and the rest to the artist.
Wong, who is studying at London's Slade School of Fine Art, said he was delighted to be in the running for the first time. He said he appreciated private-sector art awards but hoped the public sector could catch up: "The private sector plays a big role in Hong Kong's arts … the public sector needs to make more noise."
Chen agreed, saying even with the support of the private sector, "artists still need a full-time job to support themselves". She hoped for more flexibility in funding for solo exhibitions.