Many up-and-coming young artists need support and encouragement as they pursue their dreams. With this in mind, Hong Kong Aviation Capital (HKAC) launched the Young Emerging Artist Award last year.
"The Award was part of our corporate social responsibility [CSR] programme and our team's effort to contribute to the community," says Donal Boylan, the company's CEO and the driving force behind the project.
HKAC is a leading aircraft leasing, financing and advisory company with branches in Dublin, London, Sydney and Hong Kong.
With more than 20 years of expertise in engineering, and the commercial aerospace and defence industry, Boylan hasn't just focused on the business side. For him, it is important that the company gives back to society by taking part in meaningful projects.
Boylan says Chen Feng, chairman of HNA Group and an investment partner of HKAC, shared three key viewpoints with him.
"He told his employees to do three things: something for society, something for others, and something for themselves. I share his views and the same messages with my team," says Boylan.
When he brought up the CSR initiative with the board members, Boylan received unanimous support.
"We all resonated with the idea of giving back to the local community," he says. "We want to help our youth and young independent artists who have little or no help to develop their talents. We want to recognise them and help them achieve a sustainable career."
Aanchal Prem Wadhwani has benefited from the CSR programme. She won last year's competition with her artwork under the theme, "The Changing Face of Asia".
"The competition has helped develop my confidence as a fashion photographer, and offered me a platform to [represent] myself to an overseas audience," says the 21-year-old fashion design student, who is doing a joint degree at The Hong Kong Open University and Middlesex University in Britain. "With the award, I had the opportunity to photograph for a few international magazines.
"I wish to thank HKAC for supporting the arts industry. I also want to thank Mr Boylan for being so humble and willing to spend time discussing our future with us.
"I believe the competition can help inspire local artists reach a new level in their careers."
Celine Setiadi, who won the Special Merit Prize last year, agrees. "Following an arts path is stigmatised, particularly in Hong Kong. The competition has helped us to remove the negative connotations of choosing the arts as our career path," says the 18-year-old South Island School graduate.
Celine will be studying fine art at the University of Edinburgh, in Britain, next year.
"Winning the award has encouraged me to [create] more artworks, not only because I was given the money to buy more art supplies, but also because the judges believed in my work," she says. "[Being recognised for my hard work] boosted my confidence and morale, and strengthened my drive to become a practising artist even more."
With such positive feedback, Boylan is truly convinced the competition should continue. He encouraged young artists to give it a go.
"If you have a passion for the arts and an exceptional talent, and you want to use your work to make a difference to the world, we want to support you," he says.
This year's theme is "My Colourful Hong Kong". All Hong Kong residents aged 16 to 25 are welcome to submit their artwork.
To register, visit www.hongkongaviation.com before 5pm on October 11. For enquiries, call 2568 0349