The Sovereign Art Foundation has named Anida Yoeu Ali, a Cambodian American artist, winner of the prestigious Sovereign Asian Art Prize.
Ali, an installation and performance artist, will accept the award, and the $30,000 prize that comes with it, on Friday.
The foundation, created in 2003, is a charity organization that provides support for impoverished children through arts, “as rehabilitation, education and therapy.” It currently provides support in Cambodia, Vietnam, Mongolia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
The foundation said it had given Ali the award for works that “investigate the artistic, spiritual and political collisions of hybrid transnational identity.” Her work was chosen from 236 nominations from 13 countries in the Asia-Pacific, including Australia, Singapore, Pakistan, and Dubai.
Quoted in the foundation’s press release, Ali said she was surprised to win, but she hoped that in doing so she would “motivate and inspire other artists to keep pursuing contemporary art-making and performance art, no matter how difficult.”
She added that although the Khmer Rouge had terminated almost all Cambodian artists, the spirit of art remains in the heart of every survivor, including herself.
Ali is a Muslim-Khmer who escaped the Khmer Rouge to the United States. She is also co-founder of Studio Revolt, an independent artist-media lab in Phnom Penh. Not only does she produce video and images, but she also engages in performance and installation.
“I am proud to be part of the return diaspora of Cambodians who are passionately rebuilding our legacy through art,” she said.