Winners announced for the Bluethumb Art Prize 18

It’s a double win for Melbourne artist Kim Hyunji (Kim Kim Kim) whose oil painting, Painless (Luke) (2016), has won the Works on Canvas award and the $10,000 overall ‘Bluethumb Art Prize 18’.

Described by co-judge and CEO of Contemporary Arts Precinct Marcus Westbury, as ‘a vulnerable and compelling portrait that kept drawing me back,’ the work was chosen from a pool of 30 finalists. ‘It captured a vulnerability and resignation that strongly evoked the uncertainty of formative years and experiences,’ explained Westbury.

The subjects in Hyunji’s paintings reflect those of her contemporaries – the Millenial generation. Recognising Australia’s multiculturalism and diversity, Hyunji explores how a digitally advanced society, consumed by social media, influences the construction and portrayal of identity.

Additional award categories – Works on Paper, Works on Canvas, Other Media and Photography – were taken out by three of Hyunji’s fellow women finalists, each hailing from different states.

The winner of the Works on Paper Award is Erin Nicholls for Smoke (2017). Part of her ‘A Night in Japan’ series, the drawing is heavily influenced by Blade Runner, a film loved for it’s dystopian, ‘Neo Tokyo’ nighttime imagery. ‘The scenes I portray are fleeting moments in time, where the figures, objects and light will only be in that exact state for a moment, never to be repeated,’ says the artist.

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

The winner of the $2000 People’s Choice Award will be announced on Sunday 15 April. This award is open to all 100 semifinalists of the Bluethumb Art Prize and votes can be cast on the Bluethumb website.

It is hoped that these prizes will help empower their winners to build a sustainable career in the arts; the underlying mission of the art prize and of Bluethumb as a whole.

Bluethumb HQ
81 Sackville Street, Collingwood
12 to 15 April, 2018
Melbourne