Indonesian contemporary artist FX Harsono has been crowned the winner of the inaugural Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art. The Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art is jointly presented by the U.S Embassy of Singapore and Art Stage Singapore, to an artist or curator from the Southeast Asian region who is actively committed to the ideals of freedom of art.

In addition to Harsono, the other nominees were Aye Ko (Myanmar), Lee Wen (Singapore), Manit Sriwanichpoom (Thailand), Nadiah Bamadhaj (Malaysia), Pablo Baen Santos (Philippines) and Svay Sareth (Cambodia).

Harsono won for his activism in the contemporary art scene, through which he has continually examined the social realities of his home country. He received a grant of US$5,000, a trophy and a winner’s certificate. The award was jointly presented by Mr. Kirk Wagar, U.S. Ambassador to Singapore and Mr. Lorenzo Rudolf, Founder and Fair Director, Art Stage Singapore.