Top Art Prizes in Australia of 2022

Whether it’s to enter or to admire, an art prize has a pull for artists and collectors alike. It’s a sure way of finding innovative pieces that possess skill and technique, yet remain original and stimulating in concept. Having the chance to exhibit work by esteemed galleries helps artists get well-deserved recognition and resources to excel in their career. For collectors, art prizes provide a platform for discussion on the incredible talent coming out of Australia today.

Here are our top picks of Australian art prizes in 2022 that promise to deliver and are well worth keeping an eye on over the coming year.

Bluethumb Art Prize: Australia’s Largest & Richest Art Prize ($250,000)

What good is having a blog on art prizes if you can’t mention your own? The Bluethumb Art Prize has been growing each year and we’re now in our fifth year of hosting this exciting prize. This year we’re back and bigger than ever with the largest and richest prize pool in Australian history – a whopping $250,000! 

We are so excited to host the 2022 Bluethumb Art Prize after years of lockdowns, especially given the incredible judging panel we have on board, which includes Del Kathryn Barton, Tamara Dean, Blak Douglas, Kathrin Longhurst, Loribelle Spirovski, and our very own co-founders. 

“This year marks Bluethumb’s 10th anniversary. I just thought, let’s go for broke and really celebrate with our artists. You only live once” says Bluethumb CEO Edward Hartley. 

Loribelle Spirovski's 2021 Art Prize winning painting, Mirror into Mirror. Now judging the 2022 Bluethumb Art Prize.

Loribelle Spirovski’s 2021 Art Prize winning painting, Mirror into Mirror. Now judging the 2022 Bluethumb Art Prize.

The Archibald Prize: Australia’s Most Renowned Portrait Art Prize

First awarded in 1921, The Archibald Prize is often-termed Australia’s favourite and most prestigious art award. Each year, trailblazers within Australian culture put paint to canvas for this esteemed portrait prize. 

The Archibald celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, and the prize is only getting bigger and better with each year. Click here to read more about the Bluethumb artists who were finalists in this year’s Archibald Prize. the 2022 Archibald Prize winner, Blak Douglas, will be joining the 2022 Bluethumb Art Prize judging panel. 

'The Boss & Blak on delivery day': Blak Douglas with his finalist entry and Dr Michael Brand, the director of the Art Gallery of NSW.

Bluethumb 2022 Art Prize judge Blak Douglas with his 2022 Archibald winning piece ‘The Boss & Blak’.

Bowness Photography Prize: Australia’s Contemporary Photography Prize

For the nation’s photographers, the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize is one of Australia’s most important and reputable celebrations of contemporary photographic practice. Not only does it provide Australian artists the opportunity to exhibit at the Monash Gallery of Art, a leading public gallery, it also illuminates the skill and originality characteristic of this young medium.

Photography prizes are an invaluable way of finding collectable photographers across the country. Click here to see our curation of the best photography entries to the 2022 Bluethumb Art Prize. 

Bowness Art Prize finalist piece by our Bluethumb 2022 Art Prize judge Tamara Dean.

Bowness 2022 Art Prize finalist piece ‘I’ve Always Wondered When Soon Is’ by our Bluethumb 2022 Art Prize judge Tamara Dean.

Glover Art Prize: Australia’s Contemporary Landscapes (of Tasmania) Art Prize

John Glover was dubbed the father of Australian landscape painting during the 18th and 19th Century. In celebration of his legacy, the Glover Art Prize has become one of Australia’s most significant awards for landscape painting, open to artists from anywhere in the world. Landscape painting is defined broadly for this prize, with the aim of stimulating conversations about the meaning and possibilities expressed in the brief of the award.

Bluethumb's Robin Wingrave's 2022 Glover Art Prize finalist piece 'Lost?'

Bluethumb’s Robin Wingrave’s 2022 Glover Art Prize finalist piece ‘Lost?’

Mosman Art Prize: Australia’s Oldest Municipal Art Prize

Founded in 1947 at a time when only a small handful of art prizes were in existence in Australia, the Mosman Art Prize reflects all types of development within the Australian art scene since the time of its inauguration. In this way, the prize has always strived to offer contemporary and modern artists support and opportunities to exhibit their work.

The Mosman is Australia’s oldest local government art award, and has been won by an impressive number of well-known national artists, including Margaret Olley, Guy Warren, Grace Cossington Smith and Nicholas Harding.

Bluethumb artist Donovan Christie is a finalist in the 2022 Mosman art prize. This is his piece 'The Burgers Are Better.'

Bluethumb artist Donovan Christie is a finalist in the 2022 Mosman art prize. This is his piece ‘The Burgers Are Better.’

NATSIAA: Largest Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award

The Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) is Australia’s longest running and most respected Indigenous art award that captures the attention of the nation. A variety of contemporary artworks represent the diverse Indigenous communities across the country. The NATSIAA award is the go-to for stories of country and now represents the biggest Indigenous art prize in Australia.

Jimmy Donegan has previously one the coveted Telstra award. Credit: The Advertiser

Jimmy Donegan has previously one the coveted Telstra award. Credit: The Advertiser

Portia Geach Memorial Award: Australia’s Art Prize for Portraiture by Women Artists

An inspiring figure in the Women’s Suffrage movement, Portia Geach was a talented artist who struggled with male-dominated Arts field. The Portia Geach Memorial Award is awarded to ‘the best portrait painted from life of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters, or the Sciences by any female resident who was born in Australia or was British born or has become a naturalised Australian and whose place of domicile is Australia.’ It’s no surprise that the award is often referred to as the female Archibald!

Winner of the 2019 Portia Geach Memorial Award, Sally Robinson 'Body in a Box'.

Winner of the 2019 Portia Geach Memorial Award, Sally Robinson ‘Body in a Box’.

The winners of the Archibald Prize are annually announced at the same time as the Wynne and Sulman Prize, making this a holy trinity of art prizes. The Wynne Prize is awarded to the best landscape painting of Australian scenery, or figure sculpture, while the Sulman Prize is given to the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media. Bluethumb’s Julianne Ross Allconrn was a runner up in this years Wynne prize for her watercolour piece of Australian bushland, Implexis. 

Bluethumb’s Julianna Ross Allcorn’s piece ‘The Tunnellers of WW1’ available to purchase.

We can’t wait to see the winning entries for all of these incredible art prizes, and especially the entries to our 2022 Bluethumb Art Prize.

Don’t wait to see award-winning art! You can discover collectable and award-winning artists on our Collectable Art page, which includes art by our very own Bluethumb Art Prize judges.

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