Sara Hughes’ practice has attracted significant attention throughout Australasia, winning both the Wallace Art Award and the Norsewear Art Award in 2005, whilst in 2008 she was the first New Zealand recipient of The RIPE: Art and Australia magazine Art Award. She has been selected to participate in a number of notable residencies including the International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York, in 2007; and Creative New Zealand's Berlin Visual Artists Residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien between 2008 and 2009. Hughes' paintings and installations are held in many important Australasian public and private collections, including the Chartwell Collection, Auckland City Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki; Dunedin Public Art Gallery; Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and the University of Auckland Art Collection.
Hughes completed an MFA in painting in 2001 from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. Her work has been published widely appearing in international art and architecture magazines including Art in America, Artlink, Art in Australia and Monument. Hughes has also undertaken a number of high profile public commissions, including a temporary installation entitled Heat Wave at Federation Square, Melbourne, in 2010. In 2013 she completed two large-scale permanent works for the ANZ lobby in Auckland, as well a series of striking outdoor works for the re-opening of Cathedral Square in the centre of Christchurch, New Zealand.