This year’s UOVO Prize goes to Oscar yi Hou, a British-born Cantonese painter whose richly layered portraits depict queer, Asian diasporic subjects—often drawn from his own circle of friends—and explore the parallels between those two identities. As part of the prize, the Brooklyn-based artist will receive an unrestricted cash prize of $25,000 and the commission for a 50-foot-long mural on the facade of fine art storage provider UOVO’s facility in Bushwick. He’ll also receive his first-ever institutional solo exhibition, slated to open at the Brooklyn Museum this year and organized by senior curator of contemporary art Eugenie Tsai.
For yi Hou, who has previously exhibited at James Fuentes Gallery, Sprüth Magers, and Kohn Gallery, the UOVO Prize will enable him to “work in dialogue with one of America’s foremost collections of Asian art, fueling my preoccupation with Western-owned East Asian archival materials,” he says. “I hope that, in encountering the figures, symbols, and texts that populate my practice—contextualized within the Brooklyn Museum—viewers will trace relations between the past and the present, kindling new meanings and connections.”