The Blunt Edge & REACH

For Illuminate Cairns, a selection of Best of the Blunt  will be shown at our installation site at 33 Lake Street. Come along and see if you recognise a face or two. These will be rotating with works by the youth arts program REACH in a collaboration showing the future direction of Cairns artists.

The Blunt Edge of Portraiture is the Far North Queensland equivalent of the Archibald Prize.

For almost a decade ‘The Blunt’ has engaged artists in exploration of one another and delighted growing audiences. The project, recently supplemented with ‘The Blunt Virgin Award’, an opportunity for emerging and new artists on the scene to participate, provides an opportunity for artists to directly respond, both creatively and emotionally to one another.

Entrants are shortlisted by Blunt organisers, established artists Roland Nancarrow and Dominic Johns, then paired as both subjects and responders. This allows for each selected participant to work closely with at least two other local artists. Names drawn from a hat provide unlikely collaborations; young with experienced, emerging with established, theatre artists with sculptors and musicians with painters. The outcomes are often unexpected, skilled, humorous and memorable.

Since 2007, ‘The Blunt’ has enlisted the services of an outside professional in the arts to judge the competition. The coveted Awards are worn as a badge of local honour.

The Blunt Edge of Portraiture is often reminisced about and always anticipated. It has become an anti-establishment local institution and a key event of the Cairns artistic calendar.


The Blunt Edge of Portraiture 2016 will again take place as a one night only exhibition at the Pink Phoenix Gallery (Nancarrow’s House) on 3 December 2016. It's sure to be hot!

REACH stands for Regional Excellence in Arts and Culture. This program is a regional strategy implemented by teachers to deliver excellence and opportunity in the Arts to students across FNQ.