Bird art exhibition soaring to new levels


Broken by Greg Postle

The Sunshine Coast is set to once again showcase works of some of the nation’s most acclaimed wildlife artists, with the Mary Cairncross Reserve hosting the much-anticipated Holmes Art Prize for Realistic Australian Bird Art exhibition between Wednesday, 11 September to 13 October.

The exhibition – now in its fifth year – is facilitated by the Friends of the Gallery Caloundra and showcases two-dimensional realistic bird art, with entries depicting a range of birdlife scenes. 

Friends of the Gallery Caloundra President Marie Pigott said the 35 finalists have been announced, with artists now in the running to win the $15,000 major prize.

“The volume and calibre of the entries has been remarkable, with artists from as far as Western Australia and Tasmania 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 well beyond.”

“The economic impact of the Prize is considerable with many of the artists bringing family and friends to see the exhibition and staying locally. Most of the accommodation in Maleny has been booked out for the opening week.”

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 a $700 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 by Cr Tim Dwyer on Saturday, 14 September at the official exhibition opening taking place at 2.30pm, with the winning artwork added to his prized private collection.

“I have been collecting bird art for the better part of 20 years, and truly believe Australia has some of the most talented bird artists in the world,” Dr Holmes said.

Internationally renowned environmentalist and Australian artist, Richard Weatherly OAM, is this year’s judge and is well-placed to assess the work.

“It is an honour to be judging this year’s Prize. The calibre of the 35 artists and work that has been selected is outstanding and the Sunshine Coast is very fortunate to have an exhibition of this national standard,” Mr Weatherly 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.”

Six Sunshine Coast artists have been selected as competition finalists, including Michaelah Baburin of Yandina, Peta Boyce of Mooloolah Valley, David Hardy of Kawana, Gail Higgins of Glasshouse, Bernardine Hine of Caloundra and Katherine Savage of Coolum.

The Holmes Acquisitive Art Prize for Excellence in Realistic Australian Bird Art exhibition will be held at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, 148 Mountain View Road Maleny between Wednesday, 11 September and Sunday, 13 October. Entry is free and is open to the public, with the People’s Choice Award announced on 13 October.

To find out more please call Friends of the Gallery on (07) 5492 1482, visit or email

Community Creative Arts Environment

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Rainforest Discovery Centre :
148 Mountain View Road, Maleny
07 5429 6122
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Rainforest Discovery Centre

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