Quinny Zeljak

Laureaat 2020

Gilbert De Bontridder Prijs


Quinny Zeljak

Jury Rapport


  • Annelies Thoelen (voorzitter)
    curator of Z33, House for Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture in Hasselt, lecturer in product design at the LUCA School of Arts in Ghent;

  • Michiel Ubels
    film producer, director, musician with a background in the visual arts and graphic design (graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven), Best Short Documentary (among others);

  • Rik Meijers
    visual artist (graduate of the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht), represented in the collections of various museums in the Netherlands and abroad, Prix de Rome, Wolvecamp Award.

Secretary: Edwin Jacobs, director and chair of the Gilbert de Bontridder Award.


Jury Rapport

Gilbert de Bontridder Award 2020:
Quinny Zeljak

WikiLeaks and the Arab Spring were just the beginning; more and more changes in society, politics, business, education, art and culture, and science will be spurred by technological developments. The impact is huge: how we communicate, connect with one another on the work floor, learn: in short, how we live our lives. We have become accustomed to this, but isn’t it our task to recalibrate? We need disruptive situations, provided by artists and scientists in a hybrid world that is rapidly becoming more complicated. Transforming the image of a computer screen filled with digital images into a work of knitted art so that it can be carried around glued to your body is warmly disruptive, tongue-in-cheek: a coup of concept.

The 2020 Gilbert de Bontridder Award goes to Quinny Zeljak for the collection of knitted art she created and which literally transcends from the visual arts and puts your eyes on stalks. Everything is finished down to the smallest detail and precisely attuned, as a fashion designer attunes their designs to a single couture; colour and compositions offer a high-quality aesthetic experience. Without being overly explanatory, an exciting story is told that can be explored in much more depth and opens doors to a visual world with many more possibilities.

Quinny Zeljak emerges as a visual artist who is not tied to one specific scenario, or a style, but rather declares that the visual arts are diverse, open to innovation, entirely in favour of the system of the arts, and in favour of art education. Educated here and surrounded by the practice of visual arts for a year now, she demonstrates that she moves easily between the various disciplines and knits with equal energy. In this way, the viewer learns more about the options that can be explored in the visual arts. And the viewer also learns more about him or herself and the way he or she perceives visual art.

Using knitting to engage with the reception of visual art and technology and being able to present a collection that is on the interface of painting and fashion, domestic craftsmanship and image, evocation and education, offers the disruptive perspective that works. This artistic endeavour is not directly innovative, but it is transformative and its effect is anticipated to be ongoing.

Slowly, the tide is turning. In Quinny Zeljak’s very early oeuvre, the step into the world of the artist is a clear one: 2021 already offers a deepening of the 2020 graduation production. This arouses the necessary curiosity and expectations are high with regard to the development of this young visual artist. The options she exposes by stripping the game with the dominant communication permeated by the digital message and technology through knitting and crocheting appear to convey the following message: we need softness. But more inclusive, more diverse, broader, more layered and above all, more mobile. 

Annelies Thoelen, Michiel Ubels en Rik Meijers



met dank aan 

Floor Martens