Spotlight on Jel Suarez: Sovereign Asian Art Prize Interview

This interview with Jel Suarez is part of a series of interviews highlighting the shortlisted artists for The 2022 Sovereign Asian Art Prize – the 18th edition of Asia’s most prestigious prize for contemporary artists. Selected from over 400 entries, the finalists hail from 16 countries and regions across Asia-Pacific. Of the artists, 27 are new to The Prize – appearing in the shortlist for the first time. Read on to discover more about the finalists, their key points of inspiration, and why it is important to champion the work of artists from Asia-Pacific.


Jel Suarez (Philippines) was shortlisted for her work ‘Folding a Landscape’, taking the form of a 56-page accordion featuring collages and markings in rhythmic stone and mountain forms, displayed in a cave-like stance. Writing back and forth with cut-outs, Suarez created a tangible record of her longing to return to her home province during the height of the pandemic.


What do you find inspiring about landscapes and the natural world? 

I’ve been learning a lot from nature since I moved out of the city. Being in actual proximity to the landscapes I create brings about an energy exchange that empowers me to be present.


How were you initially drawn to book art?

This pandemic has pushed me to create more portable works and find new ways of expression. Artist’s books allow me to map myself in different directions, work deliberately, expansively, and become more intuitive with my process.


How do you hope audiences will interact with your work?

I hope that the audience will wend through my work like a comforting poem read over and over again.


How important is it to support artists from Asia-Pacific?

Empowering artists from Asia-Pacific reinforces understanding between cultures. It informs the stories we uncover between one place and another.


To vote for Jel’s work, click here. The most popular finalist will receive the Public Vote Prize and USD1,000.

To register interest in purchasing Jel’s artwork, please email Artwork sales will be launched in person and online during Art Central, from 26 – 29 May 2022. Proceeds will be spilt equally between the artist and charitable programmes.

‘Spotlight on Jel Suarez’ courtesy of Sovereign Asian Art Prize, May 2022