Akil Ahamat wins the 2018 John Fries Award

Published by: Copyright Agency | 2-Oct-2018
Sydney artist Akil Ahamat has been awarded the annual $10,000 John Fries Award for emerging artists by the Copyright Agency at the opening of the award exhibition at UNSW Galleries. The judges also highly commend Rachael Mipantjiti Lionel from South Australia for her work Kapi Wankanya.
Venue: UNSW Galleries
Date: John Fries Award Exhibition 29 September - 3 November
Ticket: Open to public
: facebook.com/copyrightagencylimited
: twitter.com/copyrightagency
Now in its ninth year, the prestigious John Fries Award recognises the talents of early career visual artists from both Australia and New Zealand, and offers an important platform for some of the region's most experimental and provocative works. Sydney-based artist, Akil Ahamat, takes inspiration from online and consumer cultures and how they affect and shape identity in a contemporary context. He has been awarded the John Fries award for his video and installation work So the spaces between us can stay soft.

Akil believes the John Fries Award's support of early career practices is exciting as it provides the opportunity to show work, especially to new audiences. "It's particularly exciting to have my work in such a public exhibition to be able to understand how it exists more broadly." Curated by interdisciplinary artist, academic and curator Consuelo Cavaniglia, the John Fries Award Exhibition features all 12 finalists' works, and is open to the public from Saturday, 29 September at the award's presenting partner UNSW Galleries, , until 3 November. Consuelo Cavaniglia says, Akil Ahamat's work is compelling conceptually and in its technical realisation. The judging panel returned to the work again and again, drawn in by the intimacy of the experience.

"The work talks of power and complicity, vulnerability and control. It stems from an online experience but finds its own language. It creates the space for a one-on-one exchange with the viewer while speaking about bigger ideas of transference, interrelations and interchange."

"The judges highly commend Rachael Mipantjiti Lionel's exceptional work Kapi Wankanya . The complex handling of paint and colour creates a surface that connects to textiles as much as the digital. The work is arresting. It speaks of the fluidity of the dreams that give rise to Rachael's work while representing strong cultural knowledge," adds Ms Cavaniglia. Chief Executive of the Copyright Agency, Adam Suckling, says, "The John Fries Award was established to support and shine a light on early career artists in their endeavours to grow and step up into the next stage of their art practice. The Copyright Agency is proud to be supporting an award that recognises and celebrates artistic vision and invests in Australian creativity." Chosen from a wide scope of more than 5500 applicants, the 12 finalists include nine female artists: Beyula Puntungka Napanangka, Betty Muffler, Emily Parsons-Lord, Jelena Telecki, Laura Hindmarsh, Leyla Stevens, Lisa Sammut, Rachel Mipantjiti Lionel and Rochelle Haley, as well as Paul Greedy, Akil Ahamat and James Nguyen, all of whom will receive a $1,000 artist fee from the Copyright Agency.

The winner of this year's award was determined by a panel of guest judges including curator Consuelo Cavaniglia, Sophia Kouyoumdjian, coordinator at Parramatta Artists Studios; Dr Mikala Tai, director of 4A Centre of Contemporary Asian Art; Shannon Te Ao, a Walters Prize-winner 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 generously established the John Fries 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. Viscopy merged with the Copyright Agency on 30 November 2017.

The 2018 John Fries Award exhibition will run from 29 September to 3 November at the UNSW Galleries in Paddington. For more information visit: www.johnfriesaward.com

Background information on the artists featured in the 2018 John Fries Award Exhibition.

Akil Ahamat

(New South Wales) A Sydney-based artist, Akil takes inspiration from online and consumer cultures and how they affect and shape identity in a contemporary context. His work ranges from video and sound to performance and installation, and considers the physical and social isolation that comes alongside individual experiences.

Betty Muffler (South Australia)

Betty is a renowned ngangkari (traditional healer) and dynamic artist, creating complex landscapes that celebrate her country. Winning the Emerging Artist award at the 2017 National Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Awards, her paintings capture movements between icons of country and rhythmic pathways in a powerful way.

Beyula Puntungka Napanangka (Northern Territory)

Residing in Alice Springs and the daughter of pioneer Papunya Tula painter Limpi Tjapangati, Beyula has been exhibiting with the Papunya Tjipi since the company's first exhibition in 2007. Her recent paintings depict her own dramatic version of the Kalinykalinypa Tjukurrpa (Honey Grevillea Dreaming Story) inherited from her grandfather.

Emily Parsons Lord (New South Wales)

Emily Parsons-Lord is a Sydney-based cross-disciplinary, contemporary artist who creates science-based artworks that vanish into thin air. Emily creates artworks that can be smelt, inhaled or melt before your eyes, all from transforming research into poetry.

James Nguyen (New South Wales)

James is a Sydney-based artist working with documentary practice, installation and performance and is currently a PhD candidate at UNSW Art & Design researching in the field of self-representation and the Vietnamese diaspora. He has also previously exhibited in Australia and completed a residency for Contemporary Asian Art in Beijing.

Jelena Telecki (New South Wales)

Utilising her strong interest in collective histories and socio-political and economic contexts as inspiration, Jelena's work captures a reality that is met with personal and self-referential elements. Working with painting, sculpture and found objects, she follows connections between the past of her birth country, Yugoslavia, and present life in Australia.

Laura Hindmarsh (Based between Australia and the UK)

Based between Australia and the UK, Laura's art interrogates existing modes of visual culture to examine how one's experience of the world is shaped by systems of representation. Utilising investigations that incorporate drawing, photography, text, performance, video and film, Laura questions the conventions of representation through a combined approach.

Leyla Stevens (Based between Australia and Bali)

Employing video installation, Leyla draws from her position as an Australian-Balinese woman and projects image and video that is informed by her ongoing concern and research into converging cultures, rituals, spatial encounters and counter histories. Leyla looks to create spaces that encourage slow witnessing and approach the projected image as a site of embodied memory.

Lisa Sammut (New South Wales)

Lisa seeks the union of the hand-held object, earth and cosmos through spatial situations and material production through her work, including woodwork sculpture, video art and immersive model-based installation. Lisa's work examines ideas of the primordial context, celestial architecture, animated geologies, geo-myths, planetary dynamics and scale in the universe.

Paul Greedy (New South Wales)

Working predominantly in the forms of sound, sculpture and installation, Paul is an artist and researcher who engages with the physical dynamics of energy. Awarded the Fishers Ghost Award in 2015, Paul's works explore the flow, connectivity and transformation within systems of physical and perpetual relation.

Rachel Mipantjiti Lionel (South Australia)

Rachel is a Pitjantjatjara artist from the Ernabella community in remote South Australia. A third-generation Ernabella woman, painting at Ernabella Arts, Rachel had a dream a few years ago of Kapi Wankanya, sacred living water. This became the inspiration for her painting that tells the powerful water story that she says has made her a stronger artist and mother.

Rochelle Haley (New South Wales)

Engaging with painting, drawing, movement and performance, Rochelle explores relationships between bodies and physical environments. Her projects address concepts of "˜containing' and "˜escape', presenting immersive and expanded painted spaces where audiences can enter and interact with visual compositions and designs by moving around and changing their perspective.

Newsletter Sign Up

Join Our Growing Community

ART NEWS PORTAL is a global crowd sourced art news feed.
Everyone is welcome to share their art and culture related news.