The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) is a charity established in 2003 in Hong Kong and now also registered in Guernsey, Malta, Singapore, South Africa and the UK. SAF annually runs The Sovereign Asian Art Prize with the purpose of recognising the best artists in the region, whilst raising money to help disadvantaged children. Since its inception, SAF has raised almost US$10 million for charities and artists worldwide; funding projects using art as education, rehabilitation, and therapy.
The Sovereign Asian Art Prize is now in its 18th year and is the largest and most established arts prize in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2021, SAF launched art prizes in Africa and Portugal. Alongside the professional prizes, SAF also runs Students Prizes in ten regions around the world.
Professional Art Prizes
SAF’s professional art prize portfolio comprises of The Sovereign Asian Art Prize, and the recently launched Norval Sovereign African Art Prize and The Sovereign Portuguese Art Prize. In each prize, SAF invites mid-career contemporary artists, nominated by a board of independent art professionals, to each enter up to three artworks online.
A judging panel comprised of world-class art experts shortlist the 30 best artworks from a range of digital images. The shortlisted artworks are then exhibited in a public exhibition, where they are judged for a second time and voted on by the public. The Grand Prize Winner receives US$30,000, while the winner of the Public Vote Prize receives US$1,000. The shortlisted artworks, except for The Grand Prize-winning entry, are sold and proceeds are split evenly between the artists and SAF. Artists receive the same split as they would through a gallery and the artworks often fetch higher prices thanks to generous bidding from charity patrons.
Costs of the exhibition and auction events are covered by sponsorship from The Sovereign Group and others, leaving funds raised at the auction to be distributed without dilution to charitable artistic causes.
The Sovereign Art Foundation Students’ Prizes
The Sovereign Art Foundation Students Prizes are annual awards that celebrate the importance of art in the education system and recognise the quality of artworks produced by secondary-school students across the world. The first Students Prize was established in 2012 in Hong Kong, followed by additional Students Prizes in Bahrain, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, London, Malta, Mauritius, Portugal, and Singapore. The Students Prizes invite teachers from secondary schools to nominate their best art students to submit artworks online. A judging panel of local art professionals then shortlist the 20 best artworks to be exhibited in a public space.
Here, the judges return to select one artwork to be awarded a Judges Prize and members of the public determine the winner of the Public Vote Prize by casting votes for their favourite work. The winning students receive cash prizes and trophies, their school art departments also receive cash grants to be used to for the wider benefit of all students and their creative pursuits.
The Students Prizes, established in ten regions where Sovereign Group operates, serve to support these local communities by giving back to educational institutions, inspiring a generation of young artists, and engaging with the general public through exhibitions and events.
Money raised by SAF funds community arts programmes around the world – helping thousands of children, using arts as a means of education, communication, and engagement.
In 2013, SAF launched Make It Better (MIB), an initiative that supports children from low-income backgrounds and with special educational needs (SEN) in Hong Kong. MIB works in local schools and community centres to offer children a programme of expressive arts workshops, designed to build self-esteem, confidence, self-awareness and interpersonal skills.
The workshops cater for children aged 6-12 and are led by creative arts therapists and experienced art facilitators, supported by social workers and volunteers. In addition, MIB provides support and training to teachers, social workers and caregivers of children with SEN, by introducing them to the therapeutic benefits of art and nurturing a culture of peer-to-peer support.
SAF also supports arts programmes for vulnerable children in Nepal, Mongolia, and Vietnam.
Visit www.SovereignArtFoundation.com for further information.
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