Art-lovers to fly into bird exhibition
  • Wednesday 01 November 2017
Holmes art prize

The Sunshine Coast is set to showcase the works of some of the nation’s most acclaimed wildlife artists, with Caloundra Regional Gallery hosting the much-anticipated Holmes Acquisitive Art Prize for Excellence in Realistic Australian Bird Art exhibition between Wednesday, 8 November and Sunday, 3 December.

The exhibition – now in its third year – is this year jointly facilitated by the Caloundra Regional Gallery and its support group, the Friends of the Gallery Caloundra. It showcases two-dimensional bird art, with entries depicting a range of birdlife scenes. 

Friends of the Gallery Caloundra President Marie Pigott said 40 finalists had been selected, with artists in the running to win the $15,000 major prize.

“The volume and calibre of the entries has been remarkable, with artists from all states of Australia represented in the finalist line-up,” Mrs Pigott said.

“We’re thrilled to be getting behind this great art prize and if past years are anything to go by, we expect the exhibition will create plenty of buzz and attract visitors from South East Queensland and beyond.”

Ms Pigott said the total prize pool for this year’s competition had been extended to more than $20,000, with four prizes for excellence and well as a $500 junior award on offer in addition to the major prize.

“We’re very grateful to bird art collector Gary Holmes for his continued generosity in sponsoring this event and for the encouragement and recognition the prize provides for many talented visual artists.”

Dr Holmes said the competition winner would be unveiled on Wednesday, 8 November at the official exhibition opening taking place from 6pm, with the winning artwork added to his prized private collection.

“I have been collecting bird art for many years, and truly believe Australia has some of the most talented bird artists in the world,” Dr Holmes said.

“It’s no easy feat to capture the beauty and essence of these amazing animals, so I’ll be paying close attention to the composition of the works, brushwork and even the artists’ understanding of colour theory.”

“Professor Penny Olsen, who is an Australian ornithologist and works in the Ecology and Evolution division at Australian National University, will judge the competition and will be well-placed to assess how realistic the representations of birdlife are.”

Seven Sunshine Coast artists have been selected as competition finalists, including Michaelah Baburin of Yandina, Peta Boyce of Mooloolah, Loris Clark of Bli Bli, Fiona Groom of Noosa, David Hardy of Coolum Beach, Bernardine Hine of Palmview and Chris Postle of Mount Coolum.

The Holmes Acquisitive Art Prize for Excellence in Realistic Australian Bird Art exhibition will be held at Caloundra Regional Gallery between Wednesday, 8 November and Sunday, 3 December. Entry is free and is open to the public, with the People’s Choice Award announced on Sunday, 3 December.

In addition to the exhibition, Ms Olsen will join a number of finalists on a panel on Thursday, 9 November at 10am, where they will discuss the artworks. Children’s art classes will also be held at the gallery at 11am on Saturday, 18 November, with Gecko Wildlife bringing along endangered birds.

To find out more about the calendar of events, or to register to attend the opening please call Friends of the Gallery on (07) 5492 1482 or email

Image: Pete Marshall, Light Play - Spoonbill (detail), 2017, coloured pencil, 96 x 66cm