Singapore Biennale 2019 artist Amanda Heng (Singapore) has been awarded the 12th Benesse Prize. The award recognises an artist whose exhibited work embodies an experimental and critical spirit and demonstrates an artistic reflection around the theme of “Benesse” (Well-Being). Presented by Benesse Holdings, Inc (Benesse) in collaboration with Singapore Art Museum (SAM), the Benesse Prize has been the official award of the Singapore Biennale since 2016. In 2016, the Prize was won by Singapore Biennale 2016 artist Pannaphan Yodmanee (Thailand), who will be exhibiting a work at Benesse Art Site Naoshima, Japan in 2020.
Amanda Heng’s SB2019 commission Every Step Counts (2019) is a multi-disciplinary project that invites participation and encourages intimate conversation in her performative works. Often harnessing everyday situations to explore complex socio-political issues, Heng revisits her seminal ‘Let’s Walk’ series that was first performed in 1999. Drawing upon the act of walking, the artist moves forward, looks back, turns inward and ventures outward with others. In so doing, she generates reflections and perspectives, as well as comes to terms with the limits and stamina of the aging body.
In addition to Heng, the artists shortlisted for the 12th Benesse Prize included: Dusadee Huntrakul (Thailand), Haifa Subay (Yemen), Hera Büyüktaşçıyan (Turkey), and Robert Zhao Renhui (Singapore). The jury for the 2019 prize includes Ade Darmawan, Artist and Member of ruangrupa; Eugene Tan, Director of Singapore Art Museum and National Gallery Singapore; Gong Yan, Director of Power Station of Art; Valentine Willie, Director of ILHAM Gallery, and Akiko Miki, International Artistic Director of Benesse Art Site Naoshima.