Past Bluethumb Art Prize Winners & Finalists: Where Are They Now?
There’s just under a week until the entries for this year’s Bluethumb Art Prize come to a close. It’s an exciting time, and we can’t wait to see the final submissions of established and emerging Australian artists! To curb our enthusiasm, we decided to look back at the winners and finalists of previous years. These artists have continued to produce incredible work, to push boundaries, and to cement their place in Australia’s art consciousness.
Bluethumb Art Prize 2020 Finalist: Brooke Walker
Brooke Walker‘s entry to last year’s art prize was a noticeable deviation from her signature style. A usual devotee to providing a ‘voice to the voiceless’, her submission told the narrative of environmental activist, goldsmith and artist, Lara Tilbrook. Still, the essence of her work touches on the same important message of wildlife, our home and conservation.
Brooke is now a collectable artist on Bluethumb, demonstrating a firm and powerful understanding of various media: oil, charcoal and sculpture. More recently, Brooke’s work has been selected as finalist entries to some of the most prestigious art prizes in the country, such as the Lester Prize, a fine art portraiture prize, and the The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize.
Bluethumb Art Prize 2020 Finalist: Ross Morgan
Collectable artist Ross Morgan draws inspiration from childhood memories of ‘exploring the farm filled with interesting creatures, spaces, old machinery and historical objects’, simultaneously weaving through a depth of timeless narratives into his works of art. This sentiment is ever-present in each of Ross’s pieces and continues to make his work distinct and familiar.
Following our art prize, SA-based artist Ross Morgan teamed up with author Kaliah Tsakalidis to produce the stunning children’s book Molly Moores Has A House Like Yours earlier this year. Filled with imagination, beauty and surprise, the collaboration brings together Kaliah’s rhythmic prose with Ross’s fantastical full-page illustrations.
In more recent events, Ross was selected as a finalist in the 2021 Kennedy Art Prize for his piece, The Martian and The Butterfly. As part of an ongoing series called ‘The Companion’, the theme of the series is an exploration of the special connection between animals and humans.
People’s Choice Award 2020 Winner: Todd Simpson
In line with his other hyperrealistic work, Todd Simpson took home last year’s People’s Choice award with his Tokyo scene, Reflections. The piece is part of a series exploring the beauty that can be found in our everyday urban environment, and mixes photographic technique with airbrush painting techniques. Todd was therefore invited into our winners exhibition that took place at 1 Denison this year.
Collectable artist Todd – he’s been a winner or finalist in many of Australia’s and New Zealand’s biggest art prizes – was one of three Bluethumb artists to work closely with the team and Disney Australia in a collaboration towards the end of 2020. The collaboration focused on the story of Disney’s Oscar-winning release Soul. Click here to read more about the project and Todd’s process throughout.
While remaining true to his signature cityscapes, Todd has branched across styles and disciplines over the past twelve months. Today you’ll find intriguing sculptural work, as well as still life pieces and a return to portraiture. Only a few days ago was Todd selected as a semi-finalist in the 2021 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. We’re rooting for you, Todd!
Bluethumb Art Prize 2020 Winner: Hubert Pareroultja
2020 was unkind to many of us, but it was a huge year for senior Western Arrarnta-Luritja artist Hubert Pareroultja. Not only did his circular landscape piece Mt Giles, MacDonnell Ranges earn him the place as the overall winner of the Bluethumb Art Prize 2020, he was also announced the winner of the esteemed Wynne Prize. As we said – it was a big year!
Hubert Pareroultja is a well-known and much-respected artist of the lltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre. Hubert frequents events, markets and exhibitions with the centre and is actively involved with their pursuits. In collaboration with fellow collectable artist Mervyn Rubuntja, their ingenious watercolour on silk screens work won the Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award at this year’s Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.
Abstract Award 2020 Winner: Kelilah Taylor-Ware
Much like her artist siblings, Kelilah Taylor-Ware employs the influence of the great-grandmother Millie Taylor and mother Kelly Taylor within her outstanding artwork. Kelilah’s winning entry to the 2020 Abstract Award, Family Day Out, depicts the setting of being on country, spending the day out collecting bush foods such as witchetty grubs, honey ants and quandongs with her family.
Since her win, Kelilah Taylor-Ware has moved from strength to strength on Bluethumb, selling out at our Bluethumb Art Prize Winners exhibition. Last Christmas, the Taylor-Ware family joined forces with Disney Australia on a candid collaboration, which celebrated the magic of Christmas with family. Click here to read more on the project and an interview with the family.
Bluethumb Art Prize 2020 Finalist: T’keyah Ware
Kelilah’s sister, T’keyah Ware, was also a finalist in last year’s Bluethumb Art Prize, and has gone on with the sisters’ mother Kelly Taylor in many achievements, including an interview with Vogue Living and winning the Royal Flying Doctors Competition as a mother-daughter duo. Kelly and T’keyah were chosen to create a design for the new range of RFDS uniforms to reflect their role in supporting remote communities.
Bluethumb Art Prize Winner 2018: Hyunji Kim
Korean-born artist Hyunji Kim was living in Melbourne back in 2018 when she won the Bluethumb Art Prize as the overall winner. As an artist with incredible skill but a foreign resident status, entering art prizes during her time in Australia wasn’t without its challenges. The announcement as the prize’s overall winner came as a shock to Kim, with the judging panel endorsing her entry Painless (Luke) as their favourite. Hyunji Kim commented on the piece: “Through Luke’s face, I wanted to explore the possible anxieties faced by individuals of our generation, living in the first world.”
Since her win three years ago, much has changed for Kim and her goals and achievements have only seemed to work in her favour. Soon after the prize, Kim took part in group exhibitions in Melbourne, ran solo shows in Sydney and was celebrated by youth media channel Vice and sports brand Adidas, which in turn gained more and more recognition for her unique work with an Australian audience. She is now residing back in Seoul and continues to gain momentum as a progressive, forward-thinking artist.
Submissions for the 2021 Bluethumb Art Prize close 31st October. See if you can spot the next big names in art by checking out the entries here.