Bluethumb Art Prize 18 Winners Announced

Last night saw the much anticipated opening of the Bluethumb Art Prize, and we’re pleased to announce that Melbourne artist Kim Hyunji has won the $10,000 overall Bluethumb Art Prize 18 with her piece Painless (Luke)which also won the Works on Canvas category award.

winning artist receiving award from Gina Liano

Kim Hyunji was presented the $10,000 Bluethumb Art Prize award by reality star, Gina Liano, who had the crowd in stitches!

Several judges from the eclectic panel of twelve passionately endorsed this piece as one of their favourite artworks from the finalists.

The piece especially touched art prize judge and CEO of Contemporary Arts Precinct Marcus Westbury, for example, whose comment reads: “A compelling portrait that kept drawing me back. It captured a vulnerability and resignation that strongly evokes the uncertainty of formative years and experiences.”

entire Bluethumb team standing around the winning painting

The Bluethumb team with Kim Hyunji, Gina Liano and the winning artwork.

Kim’s work was chosen as the overall winner from a limited pool of four category awards: Works on Paper, Works on Canvas, Other Media and Photography. The award was presented to Kim by Real Housewives of Melbourne star, and one of this year’s judges, Gina Liano, who was her usual charming and down-to-earth self. It was an emotional moment for Kim as she received a total of $12,000 from her 2 awards.

crowded exhibition space

The exhibition was jam-packed with people!

The event was a major success with the large space completely packed out. Wine was flowing and plenty of cheese kept the crowd satisfied, though the unexpectedly warm weather was a bit of a challenge on the air conditioning.


Everyone was kept satisfied with a delicious selection of cheeses

This year, all of the category awards were taken out entirely by women, and all of the winners also hail from four different states. The result reflects the diversity of the finalist selection as well as its female majority.

The winner of the Works on Paper Award is Erin Nicholls, with her stunning piece Smoke. According to co-founder and editor-in-chief of Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Danijela Krha Purssey, Nicholl’s piece is “a beautifully executed cityscape, with wonderfully realised treatment of light, shade, and muted colours. Erin has created a moment it time which both tells a story and also draws the viewer to bring their own imagination into the creation of that story.” Unfortunately Erin couldn’t make it to the event, but luckily her friend Amy was on hand to accept the award for her.

women looking at a large square painting

Loribelle Spirovski’s piece, Diaspora was certainly impressive, measuring 1.5m on each side.

Illawanti Ungkutjuru Ken of Tjanpi Desert Weavers won the Other Media Award with her incredible woven basket Patupiri Wiltja, and Alice Blanch received the Photography Award, with her mysterious, moody piece A Shifting Stillness #4.

The People’s Choice Award is the only award yet to be announced, with voting remaining open until the 15th of April. This award is open to all 100 semifinalists of the Bluethumb Art Prize and votes can be cast here.

2 women talking animatedly

It was a fun night for everyone who came along!

Winners of each category award receive a $2,000 cash prize, which we hope will go some way towards helping winners build a sustainable career in the arts; the underlying mission of the art prize and of Bluethumb as a whole.

All of the artworks are available to view at Bluethumb’s studio space at 81 Sackville St, Collingwood, from the 12th to the 15th of April. They can also be purchased online at any time here.

Have a look at some of the other snaps from the night below, by our in-house photographer, Megan George.


people at the bar

The bar was kept busy all night long, giving everyone plenty of time to admire Amanda Krantz’s Sakura.

Gina Liano giving a speech

Gina Liano presented the overall award for $10,000.

two women looking at a piece of artwork

Art lovers Admiring Rex Turnbull’s piece Chrysanthemum Boy – And The Benefit of Foresight.

man peering at artwork label

This piece is The Interrogation by Caroline Zilinksy.

Pink wine being poured

Drinks were flowing all night long!

Gina and Kim with the pink-hued portrait of a boy

Kim and Gina with the winning piece.

People reading the artwork catalogue

Beautiful catalogues of the finalists were available on the night.

female newscaster
Press Highlights from a Busy Week


  1. Nicole Wright says:

    Thanks for a truly inspirational night

    N W

  2. Frances says:

    Hi There
    I’d love to see pictures of the winning artworks in the other categories. Where are they?

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