Martell Crowns Singapore's New ICON

August cognac house Martell has declared Singapore’s new ICON for this year, at an award ceremony that aims to honor the best in local photography. The winner of the second ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu was photog Sean Lee, who at 25 years old is the youngest of the eight nominated artists for 2011.

Sean Lee edged out fellow finalists, John Clang and Zhao Renhui – both masters in their field – to clinch the title of Singapore’s first and only juried photography award.  “Winning this award is extremely meaningful to me especially since it is one that was judged by an international panel made up of highly established and renowned individuals from the photography and arts scene,” said Sean Lee. 

“Photography in Singapore is still at its infancy stage and it will require a lot of continued support from corporate and government organisations to elevate this art form into a level worthy of international standing. ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu is a great example of corporate organisations being able to make a difference to Singapore’s photography community.”

As the winner of ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu, Sean Lee bagged S$30,000 and an opportunity to produce a print collection of his works; John Clang and Zhao Renhui were also honored at the award ceremony.

Judge for yourself if they’re worthy of recognition – the works of the three finalists will be up for public viewing at the ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu exhibition between July 2 and 25 at the Helutrans Artspace Gallery in the industrial-chic Tanjong Pagar Distripark. 

Above and below: A sampling of the work of the ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu’s winner, Sean Lee

Sean Lee, on his work: On a personal level, one aim of my work in photography is so that, beyond just my making images, I can have my images make me. There’s a wish to be changed by what I do – for the better, I hope. Photography allows me to confront my reality in a manner that, hopefully, allows me to return to life with a little more tenderness, a little more passion.



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