Finalists announced for John Fries Award 2018

April 10, 2018

The Copyright Agency today announced the 12 finalists for the John Fries Award 2018 – reaching broadly across the spectrum of disciplines, engaging with sound, scent, sculpture, performance, painting and video.

Curated by interdisciplinary artist, academic and curator, Consuelo Cavaniglia, the John Fries Award is a $10,000 non-acquisitive award recognising the talents of early career visual artists from Australia and New Zealand.

Now in its ninth year, the annual award is a platform for some of the most engaging and experimental works from the next wave of contemporary artists in the region. Finalists will present artworks in the award exhibition at UNSW Galleries from September 29 to November 3, 2018.

Copyright Agency CEO, Adam Suckling, says, “Awards such as this provide pivotal support to artists, giving them the time and space to create. It also ensures that dynamic emerging talent is validated, recognised and supported to enrich Australia’s cultural life and community.

“This year’s finalists were drawn from close to 600 applications and represent a cross-section of early career artists,” Mr Suckling says.

Some of the themes addressed include: the impact of social and online media, the reconciliation of political realities on identity and the assertion of Indigenous voices in today’s world.

Guest Curator, Consuelo Cavaniglia, says: “This year’s high-calibre finalists offer a unique glimpse into the themes that concern contemporary artists today. This award is so exciting because it offers early career artists the opportunity to showcase their vision, and provides audiences an insight into the incredible and diverse talent that we have in Australia and New Zealand’s emerging art scene.

“Nine out of the 12 finalists in this year’s award are women. With a high number of women in the group, it’s terrific to consider the award’s role in supporting a new generation of women artists.”

2018 finalists include Beyula Puntunkga Napanangka, the daughter of pioneer Papunya Tula painter Limpi Tjapangati, she has been exhibiting with Papunya Tjupi Arts since the company’s first exhibition in 2007; Paul Greedy, who was awarded the Fishers Ghost Award in 2015; Emily Parsons-Lord, who most recently exhibited at Liveworks 2017, and prior to that at the Bristol Biennial – In Other Worlds 2016 and Primavera 2016; and James Nguyen, who was the recipient of a Samstag Scholarship and undertook a residency in Beijing through the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

The complete list of finalists is:

  1. Akil Ahamat – installation, and performance
  2. Betty Muffler – painting
  3. Beyula Napanangka Puntungka – painting
  4. Emily Parsons-Lord – video, installation and performance
  5. James Nguyen – video, performance and site installation
  6. Jelena Telecki – painting, sculpture and installation
  7. Laura Hindmarsh – moving image, photomedia, performance
  8. Leyla Stevens – moving image, photography
  9. Lisa Sammut – moving image and installation
  10. Paul Greedy – sound sculpture and installation
  11. Rachael Mipantjiti Lionel – painting and jewellery
  12. Rochelle Haley – painting, drawing and movement

The 2018 John Fries Award winner will be determined by a panel of guest judges: Consuelo Cavaniglia, guest curator of JFA 2017-2018; Sophia Kouyoumdjian, co-ordinator at Parramatta Artists Studios; Dr Mikala Tai, director of 4A Centre of Contemporary Asian Art; Shannon Te Ao, Walters Prize-winning artist based in Wellington, New Zealand; and Kath Fries, artist, former Viscopy board member, Chair of the John Fries Award committee and daughter of the late John Fries.

The Fries family established the award in 2010 in memory of former Viscopy director and honorary treasurer, John Fries, who made a remarkable contribution to the life and success of the organisation.

The award winner will be announced at UNSW Galleries on 29 September.

EXHIBITION DETAILS: The 2018 John Fries Award is exhibited from 29 September to 3 November at the UNSW Galleries, located within the UNSW Art & Design campus in Paddington. The exhibition is free-of-charge and open to the public. For more information visit:

Jelena Telecki, ‘Sitter’ (2016). Various materials, approximately 150 x 100 x 100 cm. Photo credit: Amanda Williams

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