Pat Hall painting of drag queen wins MELT Portrait Prize

melt festival brisbane powerhouse candy surprise melt portrait prize patt hall drag queen
Photo: Pat Hall

A portrait of local drag star Candy Surprise by Brisbane artist Pat Hall has won the MELT Festival’s queer Portrait Prize at Brisbane Powerhouse.

The queer arts festival MELT has officially launched at Brisbane Powerhouse for 2021. The festival runs for 11 days of performing arts and cultural events at the venue.

The annual MELT Portrait Prize allows visual artists to celebrate their LGBTIQ community heroes, whether they’re a local identity or an internationally acclaimed personality.

Brisbane artist Pat Hall’s amazing portrait of beloved drag performer Candy Surprise (pictured) won Judge’s Choice.

Describing the piece, Hall explained “colour and light” are essential elements of her work, and Candy was the “perfect answer, and so much fun to work with.”

Meanwhile, Benjamin Ramsey’s photo portrait of Brisbane drag queens Gina Vanderpump and Lexa Pro, Christopher R Inwood’s painting of Kirin J Callinan, and Rhanjell Villanueva’s digital self-portrait also received highly commended nods from the judges.


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All of the shortlisted artworks are on display until June 13 at Brisbane Powerhouse.

Punters can still vote for their favourite in the Portrait Prize’s People’s Choice Award at the venue.

Drag queen Shanny T-Bone wins MELT Festival’s Beauty Pageant

Meanwhile, on Friday night drag queen Shanny T-Bone (below, third from left) beat out four other drag competitors to win this year’s MELT Beauty Pageant.

Tina Bikki hosted the all-stars edition of the annual event, featuring five previous drag titleholders from across the city.

melt festival brisbane powerhouse melt beauty pageant shanny t-bone

(Photo: Amsnel Gorgonio)

MELT Festival 2021 runs until May 30 at Brisbane Powerhouse, with a lineup of cabaret, music, theatre and art events.

Fabulous fan favourite Reuben Kaye declares The Butch is Back in the award-winning Australian comedian and singer’s new show.

The sexy Showguys is a boylesque and drag tribute to the 1995 cult classic film Showgirls.

Thought-provoking plays People of Colours and Queer as Flux also tell stories and break boundaries at this year’s MELT Festival.

Free events include Spill the Tea, a chat show hosted by Richie LeStrange and Christina Draguilera.

Rainbow Families Queensland is also hosting a free family-friendly Rainbow Craft and Storytime event.

Find out more about the MELT Festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse website here.

Other Melt Portrait Prize Winners

2016: Atong Atem.

2017: Lesley Turnbull and Kenn Santos.

2018: Louan Walker.

2019: Dan Molloy.

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