John Fries Award 2018

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Copyright Agency

The Copyright Agency is delighted to once again present the John Fries Award. This year the entries cover profound themes such as one’s place in connection to our peers, our land, and our shared political histories. From poignant moving image works, to performance and largescale paintings, the 2018 Award has brought together a truly talented group of contemporary artists who craft insightful stories about their experiences of place and identity. It is another proud milestone in the legacy established by the Fries family and the Copyright Agency to support the arts and the artists leading change in the way we think about the world around us. Copyright Agency stands up for artists, providing support through our licensing solutions, philanthropy, and advocacy for a copyright regime that benefits creators. We make sure artists receive a fair payment when their work is reproduced in print and facilitate resale royalty payments where their works are commercially resold. In 2018 we launched our inaugural Fellowship for a Visual Artist, a career-sustaining fellowship providing $80,000 for an artist to develop and create new work in any medium. Our Cultural Fund also continues to provide other essential grants for artists and arts organisations so that they have time and space to deliver new and meaningful works. I extend thanks to this year’s second-time John Fries Award curator Consuelo Cavaniglia for delivering the show. Thanks also to the judges Sophia Kouyoumdjian, Dr Mikala Tai, Shannon Te Ao and Kath Fries; to the John Fries Award team members Tristan Chant, Jenny Ryan and Stephanie

Young; and to Vivienne Fries, for all your hard work in making the show happen. 2018 marks the fifth year running in which we have presented at UNSW Galleries and, as ever, they have been a fantastic partner to collaborate with. My thanks go to José Da Silva, Karen Hall and the UNSW team as well. Take your time wandering this space. Absorb the questions and ideas that each work inspires. Most of all, enjoy. — Adam Suckling CEO Copyright Agency





UNSW Galleries

John Fries Award 2018

UNSW Galleries is delighted to be the presenting partner for the John Fries Award. Since 2010, the Award has recognised the contribution and achievement of early career practitioners from Australia and New Zealand. The Award matches the philanthropic support of Kath Fries and her family with the Copyright Agency’s enduring commitment to the career development of artists. As a result, the Award has profiled an outstanding group of more than 120 finalists and winners. Art prizes have an essential function within the ecology of Australian art. They provide a context for the acknowledgement of artistic practice; they provide remuneration for artists and raise the profile of the professionals involved. Since 2014, the Award’s exhibition has been staged at UNSW Galleries, and we have enjoyed creating this platform for the finalists. The exhibition brings the work of each artist into a conversation about the value of art in public life. Each year the Award also assembles an esteemed group of judges. This year Kath Fries is joined by leading arts professionals Sophia Kouyoumdjian and Mikala Tai, and celebrated artists Consuelo Cavaniglia and Shannon Te Ao. Each has brought to the project a deep understanding of contemporary practice and marshalled an impressive and diverse group of artists. Cavaniglia also returns as the curator of the 2018 Award exhibition and has worked closely with the finalists to develop a superb presentation in the Courtyard Gallery. We are thrilled with Cavaniglia’s exhibition, which places an outstanding group

of works within a compelling design and framework for interpretation. — José Da Silva Director UNSW Galleries

Creative communities often naturally form around artists wanting to connect with their peers, as they discuss their work and ideas, pursuing difference and diversity in their practices. These communities are like families at their best – dynamic, engaged, innovative, compassionate, supportive and critically constructive. I was fortunate to grow up in a supportive and generous family environment, privileged to have parents who encouraged my commitment to becoming an artist. For many artists this is not always the case, yet sometimes a closely connected community of peers can help fill this gap. The creativity required to live as an artist reaches beyond just work, to how we build communities around ourselves – and then these communities can also become extended family. My interest in nurturing creative communities has grown from my parents’ example, and I continue to be somewhat astounded that it can reach so widely across Australia and New Zealand through the annual John Fries Award. The John Fries Award was established in 2010 in memory of my father, John Fries (1943– 2009), who was a director and honorary treasurer on the Viscopy board. Although not an artist himself, John supported the arts and valued their contribution to society. As an accountant, he also understood the importance of artists being acknowledged and fairly renumerated for their work. Through his work with Viscopy (which merged with Copyright Agency in 2017), John could see the pragmatic importance that copyright can play in balancing creative output with economic income. He believed that the passion and curiosity that drives

art practice should be supported and rewarded. John’s realistic and forwardthinking attitude actively touched the lives of many around him by way of his practical and benevolent support. He assisted his close and extended family, his friends, neighbours, business colleagues, charities and communities to develop their skills, explore opportunities and pursue their dreams. Fondly remembered by many, John’s empathetic generosity and ability to embrace life is warmly commemorated by this annual award. The legacy reflected in the John Fries Award is as much about the practical support of the winner’s prize money as it is about the sense of community and mutual support for diversity and difference that evolves between the artists, curators, judges and audiences each year. This generative approach is clearly reflected in the multiplicity of perspectives and art practices demonstrated by the twelve finalists in the 2018 John Fries Award. My congratulations to each of them and I wish them all well. — Dr Kath Fries Artist and John Fries Award Committee Chair


Curatorial Statement

John Fries Award 2018

2018 Finalists

Akil Ahamat Paul Greedy Rochelle Haley Laura Hindmarsh Rachael Mipantjiti Lionel Betty Muffler James Nguyen Emily Parsons-Lord Beyula Puntungka Napanangka Lisa Sammut Leyla Stevens Jelena Telecki

Curated by

Consuelo Cavaniglia

UNSW Galleries 29 September – 3 November 2018

The John Fries Award supports and promotes early career artists from across Australia and New Zealand. Through the curatorial process of working closely over several months with the twelve finalists selected for 2018, ideas of time have repeatedly surfaced. Considerations of time are evident in the ideas that drive the work: from tracing personal histories and reflections on political events, to an engagement with time related to the cosmos and infinite space. In many of the works we see an engagement with time within the medium itself, evident in the strong presence of video and moving image work, the temporality of dance and the ephemerality of sound in conjunction to kinetic explorations. Time is by no means a theme of this year’s exhibition, but a consideration that has continued to surface. The very premise of the Award leads us to think about time in relation to art practice – the term ‘early career’ embeds a timeline into its definition, implying movement through sequential stages. The engagement with art practice though, seldom follows a linear flow. It starts, hesitates, doubles back, surges and pauses. The Award invites entrants to self-identify as ‘early career’. The varied background, age, professional history and experience across the group illustrates the elasticity required of the term (the same can be said of the terms: emerging, mid-career and established), and brings complexity to the voices heard in this year’s Award. 5


The field of entrants is shaped by an open call-out for submissions, as such the John Fries Award can’t be seen as a survey of early career practices. What can be identified through the range of practices though, is a series of concerns that speak to our contemporary existence. In an essay to which I often return – for its reach in addressing time, film and photography – author Laurence Simmons speaks to the nature of the contemporary artist through the definition of contemporaneity: ‘The person who truly belongs to his time, who is truly contemporary, is the one who does not coincide perfectly with it.’ He quotes philosopher Giorgio Agamben: ‘Obviously,’ argues Agamben, ‘this noncoincidence, this discrepancy does not mean that the contemporary is someone who lives in another time, a nostalgic. Contemporariness is a peculiar relation with one’s own time which adheres to it and, at once, distances itself from it. It is, in other words, a relationship to time which clings to it through a disjunction and an anachronism.’ … Precisely because of this disjunction and anachronism, these figures – these contemporaries – are able, more than any others, to perceive and grasp their times. Those who completely coincide with their times, who in every way perfectly correspond with them, are never contemporary because, for this very reason, they are not able to hold a steady gaze upon them.1 Ideas of slippage and disconnect across time underscore Laura Hindmarsh’s new work Inferior Mirage (2018). Two films are projected at differing scales one over the other.

Overlaid and of uneven duration, the two films work to variously frame and complexify one another, while at times negating each other through blocking or screening. Shot in the dunes of the Sahara Desert near the border between Morocco and Algeria, the work presents a complex consideration of the medium of film itself, while addressing the dilemma of representation of the landscape. Though both are presented in digital format, the first is a digitised scan of a 16mm film, the second a digital film collaged from off-camera documentation of the performance of filming in 16mm. This raises questions of authenticity between the two technologies, and also speaks to the almost complete digitisation of the medium, challenged by artist Tacita Dean’s drive to maintain production of celluloid film. The mythical landscape of the Sahara confronted Laura with the question of how to respond to a space that ‘appeared as virtual as a Windows screensaver. Everywhere I pointed my camera – film, digital or mobile – I saw the cinematic landscape, stock footage, geo tags.’2 Distancing herself from the role of clichéd adventurer, she retreated from the landscape: ‘I started to walk backwards, I did not want to see where I was going, but rather allowed my shadow to lead … filming upside down with my 16mm Bolex so my footsteps would pick up their tracks once the film was printed and played in reverse.’3 In this asynchronous series of moments there is the distance to find a way of responding to the environment. Laura’s actions recall Walter Benjamin’s thoughts on past and future in his Theses on the Meditation of History (1940), discussed through the image of the 7


Angelus Novus (1920) by Paul Klee. Describing Klee’s angel, Benjamin says, ‘the storm drives him irresistibly into the future, to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows toward the sky. What we call progress is this storm.’ 4 Laura’s work does not suggest that the future is chaos, but it is certainly complex, as we negotiate identity, representation, authenticity, image and meaning. Perspective needs to be tested and questioned. While Laura walks backwards, retreating from the frame, James Nguyen’s work develops almost in reverse, moving to fill a series of empty frames to counter the absence of a past. For the John Fries Award exhibition James presents the second part of Buffalo Deer (2016–18), the first part of which was shown in 2016 at West Space (Melbourne). Like much of his work, this was developed in collaboration with his family. The work is a conversation with his father. They make absurd paper headdresses as a practical gesture on which to hinge a conversation: the core of the work. His father fled Vietnam as James was born. Arriving in Australia, he encountered endless hurdles that impeded him from reuniting his family in the new country. Some countries build walls, others bureaucracies to enforce policies of border control; it took eight years for his father to reunite his family, bringing James and his mother to Australia. Buffalo Deer provided the opportunity for James and his father to come together, threading stories from eight years not lived in common. Yet instead of finding commonalities and connections, what became evident was the distance between them. James builds on his personal history to talk more broadly about displacement, and

addresses the complex history of displacement in Australia while considering the colonial program through an international lens. Identity, politics of othering and colonial discourse come under scrutiny through his video and performance work, in an art practice that is increasingly refined in its political intent. James’ work finds connection to that of Betty Muffler, Leyla Stevens and Jelena Telecki. Within the disparate works, encompassing painting, installation and video, we find a common thread. They are tied by conversations generated from personal histories that document, on a personal level, the impact of events that are politically driven. The events at the core of the works’ narratives are forgotten or muted through the silence of selective historical discourse, recording and archiving. Betty Muffler speaks directly to the experience of displacement. Born in the remote bush area near Watarru by the border of South Australia and Western Australia, she was removed in the aftermath of the nuclear bomb testing at Maralinga. The bombing devastated the land and its communities. The only surviving member of her family, Betty was taken to Ernabella and later travelled to Granite Downs. She has continued to travel and her paintings are reflective of her journeys and knowledge of the land. ‘I’ve travelled all over the place, everywhere on the APY Lands, sometimes during Marali (spiritual ngangkari traveling) and sometimes just to visit friends.’ Following in the footsteps of her father and learning from her aunts, she has become a renowned ngangkari (traditional healer). ‘I’ve got an eagle spirit and I can stay at home here and send my eagle spirit across the desert 9


to look for sick people, then I land next to them and make them better.’5 The travel she speaks of is easily understood in the rich, complex inscription of white lines on black canvas that make up her work. In Ngangkari Ngura (Healing Country) (2018), the work in the Award exhibition, we see an immense series of highly textured intricate lines. These lines are like trails that are faint when seldom used and heavily drawn when frequently travelled – lines that we can imagine are followed (ancestral) as much as newly made (by Betty’s own steps). The intricacy of line work is also evident in the paintings of Beyula Puntungka Napanangka. Beyula’s confident marks build a vibrant field that is further enriched by underpainting. Abstracted lines describe the Kalinykalinypa Tjukurrpa (Honey Grevillea Dreaming Story) that she inherited from her grandfather. Beyula is the daughter of celebrated founding Papunya Tula painter Limpi Tjapangati, and carries in her work a rich tradition tied to the success of Papunya painters. Beyula has developed her own style to create immersive fields and sensory experiences, allowing the viewer to almost smell and taste the honey from a mass of grevillea. Complex layers of marks are re-traced painting after painting, time and again retelling and reinscribing stories that are timeless and of all time simultaneously. If Beyula and Betty speak through line, telling the stories from before and beyond them, Jelena Telecki’s response to history is through detail as much as it is through erasure. Smudging, muffling, denying. In both sculpture and painting, Jelena’s work is an interplay of close, almost obsessive detail and gestures of erasure.

I am reminded of the writing style of author Milan Kundera and his intimate, specific descriptions to bring you close, ask you to listen carefully, in order to then speak of something large and timeless like life, love or loss. Jelena’s work has an interesting relationship to time. Her installations are like moments that as viewers we stumble into, almost interrupting or surprising the protagonists. Figures and bodies are hiding, suffocating, resting, lost or forgotten. We break the moment when we enter their space, feeling like we shouldn’t be there, or else that if we hadn’t intruded, the scenario could be much worse. The work has a sense of absurdist humour and is quietly disturbing. Surreal dream or nightmare-like sequences through which she talks about history, memory, politics, society and the beauty and ugliness of human nature. Jelena left Yugoslavia during the wars of 1991–2001. The experience of war is not one she addresses directly, but its spectre is felt throughout. In the erasure is the desire to forget, the inability to remember and the impossibility of knowing something that is denied to you through dislocation or displacement. Leyla Stevens’ work focuses on history too. She uses the medium of photography and moving image to challenge the veracity of official historical records, corrupting the idea of recording and documenting. While James Nguyen uses a documentary approach to record stories in order to construct a past that never was, Leyla instead retells and reenacts events. In her version the official line slips and fiction infiltrates reality. The stories connected to the Bali killings of 1965 told in her work for this exhibition, split into divergent paths, disrupting chronology and the logic of linear time. Finding connection to Laura 11


Hindmarsh’s work, Leyla interrogates the very medium of photography and film, slowing down time, interrupting and complicating the idea of documentation. The spectre that is implicit in photography – a photograph being the trace of something that has already disappeared – is used to call into question our faith in the rendition of events communicated to us as historical fact, and to ask how much was left out and how much was undocumented. Documentation and the act of recording are also evident in the work of Rochelle Haley. Abstracted from any connection to historical events Rochelle’s work looks at an ephemeral event - dance - and the ability for drawing to communicate its qualities after the fact. Drawing is a complex entity though that functions as a record, as a score, and is itself an event, not just a stand-in for something past. In architectural drawing, notation allows for nuances and instructive information to be communicated, separate from the reality of the physical structure or the act of building. Through the expansion of painterly forms onto walls, floors and as freestanding elements in the space, Rochelle’s work engages with architecture and invites the consideration of movement within space. Architect Bernard Tschumi describes movement or ‘event’ as intrinsic to architecture. He argues that the movement of people is central to the built form but also a disruption, as bodies and architecture belong to different orders.6 This confrontational energy is found in the shapes and forms that seem to orbit around each other in the geometry of Rochelle’s expanded paintings. Like the tectonic masses that float in Constructivist paintings, the geometric forms (of soft sculptures, costumes and choreographed dancers) in her work are active and dynamic.

They are at once a record of movement, a score for it and themselves in motion. Both Paul Greedy and Lisa Sammut’s works echo this connection to dynamically shifting and active forms. Paul uses sound to explore processes of movement and transformation, Lisa movement to consider the dynamic forces at play on a cosmic scale. They consider the physical relationship that exists between energy, matter and space in vastly different ways. The small wooden forms in Lisa’s work every now and then (2015) are like palm-sized models of elements from a cosmic order. They interact and move in a way that reflects the choreography of Rochelle’s geometric paintings and dancers, though they relate to geology and astronomy. Lisa’s works are handmade and use materials such as wood and paper, which in more recent pieces are collaged and their kinetic activity digitally filmed. The work forms a kind of magic relationship between what can be held in the hand and what is in the heavens or the core of the earth. Through elegant and simple gestures, she poetically finds the relationship between matter in order to speak about forces that are within and outside of us. Paul similarly considers forces that are active all around us, but while Lisa describes or suggests these, Paul’s work actually activates them to make their effect apparent. Minimal and abstract in nature, Paul’s work is both complex and simple. It requires a complex understanding of sound, but demonstrates the simple mechanics of cause and effect as forces are activated to generate it. His work is elemental in nature, using metal, glass and electricity to create events for intangible and invisible forces to affect a visible change or transformation. The work is often interactive and responsive 13


to the presence of an audience member’s body, which is itself another source of energy, and subject also to the system of forces that Paul considers, activates and engages with. The event of energy transfer in Paul’s work considers time in its fleetingness, as activations are durational and often brief. The idea of energy transfer is not just of the present moment, but of all time; not only beyond us but also beyond the earth, prompting us to consider cosmic gravitations. Likewise, Emily ParsonsLord and Rachael Mipantjiti Lionel share a concern for elemental forces. Rachael’s rich and detailed paintings have more recently focused on Kapi Wankanya, a powerful Water Story. Her work often comes from her dreams and this story represents one of them. Rachael says: ‘I have started to think about the importance of water to my people, Anangu. How in the old days knowledge of water sources was key to survival, how without water we were, and still are, nothing. I have started to use some of the colours of the desert in my paintings, colours of my country, this land after all the rain. Kapi Wankanya is salvation. It is healing and cleansing but also our life blood.’7 Emily looks at elements and uses matter and materials for their physical properties and metaphoric potential. Her work can be seen as making connections between our bodies, our environment and, more expansively, the universe. This sentiment finds its parallel in Rachael’s work, where these connections are extended internally to the world of the psyche and dreams. Emily’s work intersects with Paul’s approach of making manifest that which is intangible or invisible, through actual manipulation or activation of elements. Crossing

between natural sciences, performance and participation, the work is experienced across a range of forms and in each instance makes us aware of our physicality and the interconnectedness between us and our environment on a molecular level. In the Award exhibition Emily presents A Beastly Itching (2017). The strain of humour generally evident in her work is here at the forefront as she conflates hormonally driven desires with beastliness and the rise of Donald Trump to presidency. In her work Emily considers not only what occurs on an elemental level but how, through connectedness and perhaps the energy shifts of which Paul speaks, these occurrences have bearing on the cultural, social, political and environmental reality. Akil Ahamat’s work finds resonance with the connection to the interior, psychological and subconscious world of Rachael and Emily’s works. He focuses on the emergence in online spaces of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) – a term describing a loose grouping of affective states that have come to be associated with relaxation, comfort and intimacy. Using the aesthetics, voice and narrative approach and format of online ASMR experiences, Akil develops installations within the gallery that are interactive and performative. His work is visually and orally alluring and technically, beautifully produced. Audience members are invited to experience the effect of ASMR not in an uncritical manner, as online communities might, but as an insightful consideration of our contemporary state. In the work, Akil incisively explores the connection between desire – of material goods and in particular high performance luxury sportswear – anxiety, identity, capitalism and politics. He 15

foregrounds the vulnerability of the body within a system of consumption that leaves the individual exposed, accessible and defenceless. He considers ASMR critically, as a tactic to be assessed and to co-opt in a politised position. The artists in the 2018 John Fries Award exhibition are socially, politically and culturally engaged and they present a series of propositions, questions, meditations and provocations around the contemporary state of existence. Their work holds all the energy and dynamism of early career practices. They consider complex ideas in sophisticated ways to problematise issues of identity, culture and politics, reflecting on how society defines itself in times of social and political uncertainty. — Consuelo Cavaniglia


2 3 4

5 6 7

Simmons, Laurence, ‘Daniel Crooks: the Future of the Past’, in Artlink, 2009, Volume 29, #1, pp21–22. Email conversation with the artist, July 23. Email conversation with the artist, July 23. Walter Benjamin 1940 work, ‘On the Concept of History’ from Selected Writings, Vol. 4: 1938–1940 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003) 392–93. Artist’s statement published through Iwantja Arts www. Bernard Tschumi, Architecture and Disjunction (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1994) 122. Artist’s statement published through Ernabella Arts www.

The Finalists

Sydney, NSW

Akil Ahamat


So the spaces between us can stay soft 2018 Single channel video, stereo sound; installation, 3D printed resin, chrome, concrete 80 x 50 x 45cm Š Akil Ahamat Licensed by Copyright Agency


Sydney, NSW

Paul Greedy


Production Detail 2018 © Paul Greedy Licensed by Copyright Agency


Sydney, NSW

Rochelle Haley


movement and installation research 2018 Dancers: Angela Goh & Ivey Waw Photo: Jessica Maurer Image courtesy the artist and Galerie Pompom Š Rochelle Haley Licensed by Copyright Agency


Hobart, TAS / Wysing, UK

Laura Hindmarsh


Inferior Mirage 2018 Digital video and 16mm film scan Production still © Laura Hindmarsh Licensed by Copyright Agency


Pukatja Community, SA

Rachael Mipantjiti Lionel


Kapi Wankanya 2018 Acrylic on linen 99 x 148cm Image courtesy the artist and Ernabella Arts Š Rachael Mipantjiti Lionel Licensed by Copyright Agency


Indulkana, SA

Betty Muffler


Ngangkari Ngura (Healing Country) 2018 Acrylic on linen 122 x 305cm Image courtesy the artist and Iwantja Arts © Betty Muffler Licensed by Copyright Agency


Sydney, NSW

James Nguyen

Buffalo Deer 2016–18 Process image Image courtesy the artist & Ngoc Cu Nguyen © James Nguyen Licensed by Copyright Agency



Sydney, NSW

Emily Parsons-Lord




To join us you must lose yourself (a troublesome itching) 2017 Installation Still Photo by Document Photography

To join us you must lose yourself (a troublesome itching) 2017 Production stills. Single channel HD video, duration 5:06

Š Emily Parsons-Lord

Š Emily Parsons-Lord

Licensed by Copyright Agency

Licensed by Copyright Agency


Papunya, NT

Beyula Puntunkga Napanangka


Kalinykalinypa Tjukurrpa 2017 Acrylic on linen 198 x 122 cm Image courtesy the artist and Papunya Tjupi Arts Š Beyula Puntungka Napanangka Licensed by Copyright Agency


Sydney, NSW

Lisa Sammut


a sensible geology 2018 HD video, looped, no sound Production still © Lisa Sammut Licensed by Copyright Agency


Sydney, NSW / Bali, ID

Leyla Stevens


Their Sea is Always Hungry 2018 Two-channel colour video, stereo sound Production still © Leyla Stevens Licensed by Copyright Agency


Sydney, NSW

Jelena Telecki


Somewheres Nowheres 2018 Installation detail: painting, oil on linen, 2 paintings, both 42 x 30 cm; sculpture, mixed media, dimensions variable Š Jelena Telecki Licensed by Copyright Agency




Akil Ahamat (Born in Melbourne, Victoria, lives and works in Sydney, New South Wales).

Paul Greedy (Born in Blacktown, Western Sydney, lives and work in Sydney, New South Wales).

Rochelle Haley (Born in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, lives and works in Sydney, New South Wales).

Akil is a multidisciplinary artist whose work draws upon his own online experiences to consider the physical and social isolation that often governs the shaping of identity in a contemporary context. Exploring the forms and techniques evident in ASMR Roleplay videos, Akil employs installation elements and audio technology as the interface between himself and the audience in the gallery. The forced virtual intimacy that is created in this space becomes a gently disarming platform for Akil to discuss the formation of his own identity through various media including literature, films, advertising and fashion. Reading seemingly disparate sources such as historical Anti-Colonial literature through sneaker advertising, Akil attempts to trace an ongoing legacy of insurgency and emancipation that is ultimately subsumed within the logic of competition that underpins contemporary Neoliberal Capitalism. In drawing this line of thought, he brings into question the capacity for individual agency within the many liberties afforded by consumer culture. Recent exhibitions include Elegant Degradation, Kudos Gallery, 2017; Everyday Machines #2, Alaska Projects, 2017 and Same Same, Firstdraft, 2016.

Paul is an artist and researcher, working predominantly in sound, sculpture, and installation. His practice engages with the physical dynamics of energy such as resonance, transduction, and synthesis. His works explore themes of flow, connectivity, and transformation within both physical and perceptual systems of relation. Paul has exhibited nationally in various regional and metropolitan galleries, including Artspace, UTS Gallery, Campbelltown Arts Centre, and C.A.T. Hobart. In 2015, he was awarded the Fishers Ghost Art Award (Open), and was a finalist in the Sculpture at Scenic World 2018 Major Award. From 2014 to 2018 he was co-director of the artist run initiative 55 Sydenham Rd Marrickville.

Rochelle is an artist and researcher engaged with painting, drawing, movement and performance to explore relationships between bodies and physical environments. Her interdisciplinary approach to movement expands painting and choreography to investigate space structured around the sensation of the moving body. Her work aims to re-imagine the dynamism of material surfaces of representation to discover methods that are sensory, kinaesthetic, affective and rhythmic. In 2017 Rochelle was recipient of an Australia Council Arts Projects Grant, Copyright Agency Ignite Career Fund, Create NSW Artist Project Grant, and previously an Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant, and NSW Artists’ Grant (NAVA). Solo exhibitions include AFTERGLOW, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, 2017; Bare Loggia, 2017, and Through Form, 2015, at Galerie Pompom, Sydney; Redraw, drawing performance, Graça Brandão Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal, 2011; and Gesture and Trace, Drawing Spaces, Lisbon, Portugal, 2010. Her work has been included in group exhibitions nationally and internationally, including DOCUMENTS, ALTERNATIVES #2, Verge Gallery, 2016; The Alternative Document, The University of Lincoln, UK, 2016; Patternation, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Sydney, 2015.





Laura Hindmarsh (Born in Miri, Malaysia, lives and works between Australia and the UK).

Rachel Mipantjiti Lionel (Born in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, lives and works in Pukatja Community, South Australia).

Betty Muffler (Born in country near Watarru near the border of South and Western Australia, lives and works in Indulkana, South Australia).

James Nguyen (Born in Bao Loc,Vietnam, lives and works in Sydney, New South Wales).

Emily Parsons-Lord (Born in Bathurst, New South Wales, lives and works in Sydney, New South Wales).

Beyula Puntunkga Napanangka (Born in Papunya, lives and works in Papunya, Northern Territory)

Laura is a visual artist working across performance, text, photomedia and moving image. In each instance the work is an interrogation of the chosen medium, often pushing the mode of production and the body’s engagement in this process to a point of exhaustion or collapse. Working with processes of embodiment and repetition, Hindmarsh highlights and questions established hierarchies of representation. Her film and video works have screened at prestigious international festivals including the Edinburgh International Film Festival; Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival; and the Contact Festival of Experimental Film and Video. Recent exhibitions include Figuratively Speaking, CCP; Primavera 2017, MCA; Passages, Contemporary Art Tasmania; Finding Focus, PhotoAccess; Exhaust, Contemporary Art Tasmania; and ATAVAST, Standard Practice, New York.

Rachael is a rising star of the Ernabella Arts painting studio. She paints the messages and stories she receives through her dreams. Rachael is the third of four generations of Lionel women to work at Ernabella Arts in the Pukatja Community. She began painting at the art centre in 2006, committing to her practice more fully from late 2015. She was a finalist in the 2016 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. Her award entry Kapi Wankanya was acquired by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Rachael’s paintings have been exhibited at Aboriginal Signature in Brussels, and Harvey Arts, USA and various galleries across Australia, including Outstation Gallery in Darwin, Short Street Gallery, Broome and Alcaston, Melbourne, and in a recent family exhibition at Tunbridge Gallery, Margaret River, featuring three generations of Lionel women. She has four children, one of whom is emerging ceramic artist, Vennita Lionel.

Betty works at Iwantja Arts, in Indulkana Community on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in remote north-west South Australia. Betty is a renowned ngangkari (traditional healer) and senior cultural woman. Betty’s artistic practice spans painting and tjanpi (native grass) weaving. A child survivor of the Maralinga bombings, in which she lost her entire family, Betty was rescued by missionaries and raised at the Ernabella mission. Betty learnt her Ngangkari practise from her aunties, handed down through her father’s side. Alongside a rigorous art practice Betty continues to work extensively with NPY Women’s Council and medical practitioners to support Anangu to good health and through times of crisis. Betty won the 2017 NATSIAA Award for emerging art, her paintings have been exhibited extensively, and her work is held in collections throughout Australia.

James is an interdisciplinary artist whose output stretches across drawing, installation, video and performance. James’ video and performance work looks at the processes of collaboration - often involving his family. His work is increasingly focused on decolonial practices. James has been the recipient of the Maddocks Art Prize, the Clitheroe Foundation Scholarship and the Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship which enabled him to study experimental documentary at Union Docs NYC. James has participated in several group exhibitions, festivals and solo exhibitions nationally including Next Wave, PACT, Firstdraft, WestSpace, Feltspace, 4A, Campbelltown Arts Centre and the National Art School Gallery.

Emily Parsons-Lord makes ephemeral installations and performances that are informed by research and critical dialogue with climate sciences, natural history, and politics. Her work attempts to reconcile lofty vast ideas of our place in time and space, with the slippages of the political realities of being a human today. Employing tragi-humour, scale, and performance Emily interrogates the materiality of invisibility, magic, and stories we tell about reality. Emily has exhibited both nationally and internationally and participated in the Create NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (Emerging), 2017; Bristol Biennial – In Other Worlds, 2016; Primavera 2016; Underbelly Arts Festival 2015; 2014 & 15 Proximity Festival; and Firstdraft Sydney, 2015. Emily undertook research at Creative Time in New York; Christmas Island Refugee Detention Centre; and SymbioticA in Perth, WA.

Beyula has been a dedicated member of Papunya Tjupi Arts Aboriginal Corporation since the company’s inception in 2007. She is the daughter of pioneer Papunya Tula painter Limpi Tjapangati, whom she observed painting as a young girl. She later practiced for herself on cardboard. From her father Limpi, Beyula inherited rights to the country near the Murini Range which Beyula often depicted in her early paintings. She also inherited a bushfire story Kali Karringpa from her grandmother and the rights to a dingo dreaming site at Nyumanu near Kintore from her mother. But it is her own dramatic version of the honey grevillea dreaming story inherited from her grandfather to which Beyula dedicates her work. Kalinykalinypa or desert grevillea flower is a bush delicacy for Aboriginal people. Kalinykalinypa grows in the sandy soils on the plains. The beautiful orange coloured flowers are picked early in the morning and placed in a billycan of water to create ‘honeywater’ (cordial), or sucked straight off the branch for their sweet honey dew. Anangu move from flower to flower bending it to them so they can suck the nectar, rather than picking it. Beyula is a key painter at Papunya Tjupi studio. She paints there alongside her husband and traditional owner of Papunya, Bob Dixon Tjupurrula.





Lisa Sammut (Born in Sydney, lives and works in Sydney, New South Wales).

Leyla Stevens (Born in Cooroy, Queensland, lives and works between Sydney, New South Wales and Bali, Indonesia).

Jelena Telecki (Born in Split, Croatia, lives and works in Sydney, New South Wales).

Lisa’s practice explores cosmicoriented philosophies of being and belonging through material production and spatial situations, including kinetic and prop-like woodwork sculpture, video art and immersive model-based installation. Recent solo exhibitions include tapestries for galaxies, Verge Gallery, 2017; around the time, Fairfield City Museum & Gallery, 2017; for the time being, Bus Projects, 2016; and every now and then, Firstdraft, 2015. Lisa has participated in numerous curated group shows including Conscious Process, Artbank, 2018; World Material, Darren Knight Gallery, 2017; As if light could be translated, Firstdraft, 2015; and Specific Gravity, Moana Project Space, 2015. In 2016, Lisa received the Churchie Emerging Art Sam Whiteley Memorial Commendation Prize as well as a Sainsbury Sculpture Grant to undertake an intensive woodcarving course at the Geisler-Moroder Schnitz und Bildhauerschule in Tirol, Austria in 2017. Lisa is currently a resident artist at Parramatta Artist Studios.

Leyla is an artist and researcher who works within moving image and photography. Her practice is informed by ongoing concerns around gesture, ritual, spatial encounters, transculturation and counter histories. Working within modes of representation that shift between the documentary and speculative fictions, her work deals with a notion of counter archives and alternative genealogies. Currently her research engages with silenced histories and how they register spatially, as gaps, erasures and present absences in the land. Past exhibitions include, Of Love and Decomposition, Firstdraft, 2016; 2014 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (Emerging), Artspace; and the 2014 SafARI biennale. In 2015 she was awarded a Skills and Development (General) grant through the Australia Council for the Arts which was used to undertake an artist mentorship program in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Jelena is interested in representation within painting and sculpture. Installation plays an important part in creating a dialogue between painting and sculpture and is used as a means of articulating her sense of personal and shared narratives. Jelena’s most recent work traces her interest in the ways power relations inform our decision-making and how we experience the choices we make. Jelena has exhibited in Australia, UK and Japan and has been awarded several scholarships and grants, including the University of Sydney Postgraduate Award, 2008 - 2009, and the Australia Council for the Arts grant for the development of new work, 2010. In 2014 her work was exhibited in NEW14 (curated by Kyla McFarlane), Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. She has been a resident artist at Artist Run Initiative 55 Sydenham Rd, Sydney, 2016-2018.

Published on the occasion of the John Fries Award 2018 Finalist Exhibition

Curated by Consuelo Cavaniglia

UNSW Galleries 29 September – 03 November 2018

ISBN 978-1-925404-03-6

Publication design Elliott Bryce Foulkes

The 9th John Fries Award is an initiative of

Presenting Partner

Transport Partner


Copyright Agency

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