Aspiring Malaysian students, leading contemporary artists, educators, and heritage and curatorial experts gathered to participate and witness the unveiling of this year’s winners at the Usaha Tegas Heritage Art Competition (Usaha Tegas Heritage) prize-giving ceremony held this afternoon at Element Kuala Lumpur hotel.

A long-standing component of Usaha Tegas Group’s corporate social responsibility programmes, Usaha Tegas Heritage is held annually and invites Malaysian students from public and private institutes of higher learning to submit artworks across five categories – oil/acrylic painting, mixed media, printmaking, charcoal/pencil/ink drawing and watercolour – under a specified theme relating to cultural heritage.

Marking the twenty-second edition of the competition, Usaha Tegas Heritage 2022 was themed “Intangible Malaysian Cultural Heritage” and succeeded in attracting 235 entries by students from over 30 institutions of higher learning across the country.

Director_s speech

Delivering the opening address at the prize-giving ceremony, Encik Shaharul Rezza Bin Hassan of UTSB Management Sdn Bhd said, “The Usaha Tegas Heritage Art Competition was first established in 2001 and is closely aligned with our organisation’s belief in the important role that the arts and our diverse cultural heritage play in society. The competition has become a celebrated annual platform for encouraging, recognising, and promoting aspiring Malaysian young artists, but also acts to create an important repository of contemporary artworks reflective of Malaysia’s unique, rich and dynamic cultural heritage through their eyes.”

“This year’s competition invited students to submit artworks under the more specific theme of ‘Intangible Malaysian Cultural Heritage’ and the winning works capture not only the easily visible and recognisable symbols of the rich cultural traditions that thrive across our country, but also the hard work, wisdom and stories of our parents, grandparents and ancestors, and what we share as our natural environmental heritage,” he added.

Judges copy
From top left to right: Encik Juhari Said, Ms. Bibi Chew. From bottom left to right: Ar. Parama Nathan, Encik Syahrul Niza

Usaha Tegas Heritage’s judging panel this year was led by master printmaker, artist Encik Juhari Said, Head of Fine Art at Malaysian Institute of Art and multi-disciplinary artist, Ms. Bibi Chew, Penang-based heritage building conservationist, Ar. Parama Nathan and National Art Gallery senior curator, Encik Syahrul Niza.

Commenting on this year’s competition, Encik Juhari Said stated, “In art what is very important is the ideas and emotions, and that’s what we were looking for. The winning entries this year show an understanding of intangible heritage, of the immaterial – that it’s not about things that you can touch, feel or buy, but something that we get from our family, our history, that we can carry forward.”

Ms. Bibi Chew added, “Many of the younger generation don’t see the importance of heritage, they tend to go for subculture. But a person needs to grow by knowing their background, their roots and upbringing. Society plays an important role through institutions in opening up the younger generation to their heritage by providing information and guidance, so we hope that Usaha Tegas Heritage, as the only competition with an emphasis on this theme, can continue working well with the education sector in this.”

Discussing the relationship between art and heritage, Ar. Parama Nathan elaborated, “Art is the soul of our culture and civilization – they cannot be prised apart. Yet today there is a disconnect between art and how we live. A competition like this helps to bring art back into our daily lives by creating awareness of how art used to be so much a part of our traditional lifestyles.”

Encik Syahrul Niza highlighted, “Art competitions such as this play an important role in challenging Malaysia’s art students to hone the skills that will help them to progress onto the professional stage. In doing so, they also play an essential role in driving the development of Malaysian arts.”

Nurain Fatini Binti Abdul Jalil - UITM, Shah Alam with Dulang Opah copy
Nurain Fatini Binti Abdul Jalil – UITM, Shah Alam with Dulang Opah

This year, first prize was awarded to Dulang Opah by Nurain Fatini Binti Abdul Jalil of UITM in the Oil/Acrylic Painting category; Alternative Performer by Lye Heng Jing of ATEC Academy (School of New Media Design) in the Mixed Media category; Nostalgic Khatam Quran Ceremony by Norfatihah Binti Yusof of Universiti Sains Malaysia in the Printmaking category; Penunggu by Wan Atiqa Ramli of UITM in the Charcoal/Pencil/Ink Drawing category and Heirloom by Kua Wei Lun of The One Academy KL in the Watercolour category, with each receiving RM 8,000.00. The second, third and consolation prize winners each received RM 3,000.00, RM 2,000.00 and RM 500.00, respectively.

Wan Atiqa Ramli - UITM, Shah Alam with Penunggu copy
Wan Atiqa Ramli – UITM, Shah Alam with Penunggu

Held annually since 2001, Usaha Tegas Heritage remains one of the nation’s longest-running competitions open exclusively to art students and inviting submissions that explore Malaysia’s rich cultural heritage. Having nurtured strong partnerships with Malaysian institutions of higher learning, this year saw submissions of 235 entries across the 5 categories from 32 institutions.

Winners of Usaha Tegas Heritage Art Competition 2022
Winners of Usaha Tegas Heritage Art Competition 2022

For further information on the Usaha Tegas Heritage Art Competition please visit: instagram.utheritageartcompetition or



About the Usaha Tegas Heritage Art Competition

The Usaha Tegas Heritage Art Competition is one of the nation’s longest-running competitions, open to students in tertiary institutions across the country. It is held annually to encourage young artists to showcase their talents whilst invoking a sense of pride in the nation’s rich cultural heritage in the hearts of Malaysian youth.

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