Amnesty International Malaysia is looking for visual artists who can create an artwork for one of our death penalty campaigns by July 15th 2021. AIM will provide a grant of RM3,000-5,000 to an innovative proposal that responds to the objectives listed below.

Campaign Summary

For the past few years, Amnesty International Malaysia has been campaigning on the case of Hoo Yew Wah. We have received over 50,000 appeals both locally and internationally calling for the Sultan of Johor to grant clemency to Hoo Yew Wah.

Arrested in 2005, at just 20 years old, Hoo Yew Wah was charged under section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952. Despite issues in his case—including alleged police abuse in signing a confession and the lack of legal representation and a translator on the day of his arrest—his conviction was upheld.

He was sentenced to death six years later, at the age of 26. He has spent sixteen years in prison, and the past decade on death row.

Since entering prison, Hoo Yew Wah has become a devout Buddhist, and has shown significant remorse regarding his involvement with drugs in his youth.

“I did not realise that I had chosen a path with no turning point. When I realised my mistake it was all too late,” he wrote in a personal reflection.

“If given a chance, I want to prove that I have changed. I want to look for a proper job and spend my life taking care of my mother,” he wrote, and repeated again in interviews with media.

This year, we will be sharing these appeals with the Sultan of Johor, contacting the pardons board, and holding a public-facing action.


The artwork would be a part of the public-facing action. We are looking for the artwork to highlight several elements as listed below:

  • Capture injustices of the case and of the death penalty in Malaysia. The artwork should bring a sense of humanity to the issue, and engage with Hoo Yew Wah’s story in a captivating and creative manner. Amnesty Malaysia is able to do a longer briefing with the artist on the issues of the death penalty.
  • Use of appeal letters. We are hoping that the artist would be able to use the appeal letters sent to the Amnesty Malaysia office in their piece. We currently have 4200+ postcards and 29,000+ collected signatures that the artist can integrate into their final piece.
  • Integrate community action. we would also like a way for Amnesty members or the public to engage with the piece in person, keeping in mind COVID restrictions.
  • Gain digital traction. The artwork will be used on our digital channels (social media, website, press releases). Due to the restricted movement situation, we are hoping that the produced artwork will be able to get significant traction online.

We would be able to provide the artist with Hoo Yew Wah’s photos, written personal reflections, and previous interviews.

Expected Outputs and Deliverables Timeline

There is no one type of artwork that is expected. Artists can choose their own mediums, for example, a painting, a mixed-media work, a sculpture, or digital drawing. We are open to innovative suggestions.

Artwork should be completed by mid-July and the artist should provide their own timeline for completion of various elements of their piece.

Criteria for Assessment

  1. Clear description of the artwork’s relationship to the death penalty, Hoo Yew Wah’s case, the use of the letters, and engaging community or Amnesty members.
  2. Innovative and creative ideas in the artistic output.
  3. Previous history with art, activism, and themes of social justice.
  4. Feasibility and relevance of the project in challenging and difficult circumstances (including consideration of safety, security and ethics).


Copyright for the outputs remains the sole and exclusive property of the artist. Terms of reference/contracts will provide Amnesty International Malaysia with the limited right to reproduce, publicly display, distribute and otherwise use the expected outputs in relation to Amnesty International Malaysia’s work.

Grant awarded


To Apply:

Artists should apply by presenting a brief project proposal of 1-2 pages and includes the following:

  • Bio of the artist
  • Proposal of the artwork including:
    • How it responds to the death penalty and Hoo Yew Wah’s case
    • The use of appeal letters
    • Community engagement element
    • Cost of the artwork
    • Timeline of completion
  • An appendix or link to a portfolio of previous works

While applications need to be in BM or English, artist outputs artist outputs may incorporate other local languages.

Please send your proposal to [email protected] by Sunday 16th May 2021 11:59PM.

Questions or concerns can be submitted to the same email.