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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.