After the Bluethumb Art Prize: Where Are Our Winners Now?
We’re just days away from entries opening to the Bluethumb Art Prize 2022! With a total prize pool of $250,000, 2022 is our biggest prize yet – and now the 4th largest in the world. Ahead of the launch this Thursday, we’re shining a torch on the successes of our past winners and runners-up, starting with our most recent winners in 2021.
Bluethumb Art Prize 2021 Winner: Loribelle Spirovski
Inspired by Arvo Pärt’s ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’, Loribelle Spirovski’s winning portrait, ‘Mirror into Mirror‘, is a study of the jewel-like qualities of flesh. The subject of the oil painting – which was created during one of Sydney’s strict lockdowns – is Loribelle’s husband, Simon. With Simon being the only interaction Loribelle had during lockdown, the winning portrait is thus a reflection of her own isolation.
Since taking out the top prize in 2021, collectable artist, Loribelle Spirovski, has gone on to collaborate with George Washingmachine and Simon Tedeschi on album cover art for The Jazz. She also worked on book cover art for Simon Tedeschi’s, Fugitive.
In March 2022, Loribelle had her work exhibited at HOFA Gallery’s all-female group exhibition, ‘The Divine.’ The exhibition featured twelve female artists from twelve different countries to bring attention to the lack of female artist representation within contemporary gallery settings.
As per Bluethumb winner’s tradition, Loribelle will be joining the judging panel for the Bluethumb Art Prize 2022.
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Bluethumb Art Prize 2021 Runner Up: Blak Douglas
Following his success in the Bluethumb Art Prize, Blak Douglas has added Australia’s most prestigious portrait prize to his already impressive CV. His 2022 Archibald winning piece ‘Moby Dickens’ is a multi-layered-work of symbolism that represents the Lismore flooding disaster. Using friend and fellow artist Kayla Dickens as the protagonist, Douglas conveys an immeasurable sense of anger as she carries buckets of water whilst being knee-deep in flood water.
14 of his signature flat-bottomed clouds in the sky pay tribute to the 14 days and nights the torrents poured down. “The leaking buckets here serve as a cryptic acknowledgement of the generic 50% takings of commercial galleries.” Continuing on this theme, Blak explains, “We as artists slave on our product only to have the wealthy ‘slave master’ tax half of our earnings at end of the work day. The rising muddied waters are also a symbol of the the artists position within the ‘art world’… trepidatious, unchartered and ominous.”
Discover more 2022 Archibald finalists on Bluethumb here.
Bluethumb Art Prize 2020 Winner: Hubert Pareroultja
2020 was a big year for Hubert Pareroultja, winning both the Wynne Prize from the Art Gallery of NSW and the Bluethumb Art Prize. Not one to rest on his laurels, Hubert continued his success in 2021 with another major prize win in collaboration with fellow artist Mervyn Rubuntja. Together they won the Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award during the Telstra NATSIAA awards in 2021.
A senior member of the well-known lltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre, Hubert if often found at many art events, markets and exhibitions. Recently, his work travelled across the seas, when took part in a 2021 group exhibition with IDAIA Aboriginal Art gallery in France.
Bluethumb Art Prize 2020 Runner Up: Dianne Golding
Dianne Golding is part of the popular Tjanpi Desert Weavers, a social enterprise of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council, working with women in the remote Central and Western deserts. Winning the Indigenous award in the Bluethumb Art Prize 2020 with ‘Young Mother with Sick Baby‘, Dianne is a well-established fibre artist with a long career behind her. Not limiting her mediums, she is a multi-skilled artist who also paints with Warakurna artists, and exhibits carved wooden works nationally.
In 2022, Dianne continues to paint, carve and weave in Warakurna, surrounded by her loving grandchildren and community.
Bluethumb Art Prize 2018 Winner: Kim Hyunji
A former Melbournian, Kim Hyunji has not let a change in location slow her down. Returning to her native South Korea during COVID, Kim has been working hard on many new works and exhibitions. Just last month, her emotive portraits on glass were suspended from the ceiling as part of a group exhibition in Seoul, showcasing works from 3 generations of her family.
Kim’s work examines themes of self-exposure, self censorship, narcissism, voyeurism and surveillance, including how social media shapes how we present ourselves and, in turn, the role art plays in social media.
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On the way to her current success, she’s completed her Master of Fine Art from Seoul National University of Science and Technology, collaborated with Adidas and continued showing annual exhibitions at a variety of Melbourne galleries.
Bluethumb Art Prize 2017 Winner: Kirsten Sivyer
Making history as the inaugural Bluethumb Art Prize winner in 2017, Kirsten Sivyer has continued to build momentum since her win. A member of the NAVA collective, Kirsten has busied herself with a mixture of group exhibitions and, in 2021, a solo exhibition as part of the Southern Art Trail. She maintains a professional photography business on the side, and sells her fine art photography on Bluethumb’s curated photography section.
As of 2021, Kirsten has joined the Painter’s Palate in Albany to host workshops for art enthusiasts.
Stay tuned for more information on the Bluethumb Art Prize 2022! Entries open Thursday 16th June and close September 5th.