• Indigenous artists Anwar Young, Barayuwa Munungurr and Kathy Ramsey have been selected as finalists for the John Fries award (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Traditional punu crafting, Djapu clan designs and paintings of Ngarranggarni stories are just some of the artistic talents selected for the 2017 John Fries award.
Laura Morelli

22 Jun 2017 - 6:49 PM  UPDATED 22 Jun 2017 - 6:54 PM

Now in its eighth year, the annual John Fries award is a platform for some of the most engaging and experimental works from the next wave of contemporary artists.

The award recognises the talents of early career visual artists from Australia and New Zealand. Finally 12 talented people have been selected as finalists, but only one can win the top spot, scoring a $10,000 cash prize.

The exhibition opening kicks off on August 10 and that’s where one lucky award winner will be announced. Each individual will present multiple works in the exhibition, which is open to the public at Sydney’s UNSW Galleries until September 2 2017.

“Many of the finalists’ work engage with questions of cultural identity and consideration on landscape.”

The award was established by the Fries family 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.

Guest Curator, Consuelo Cavaniglia, says this year’s finalists are drawn from a broad cross-section of early career artists with diverse and engaging practices.

“Many of the finalists’ work engage with questions of cultural identity and consideration on landscape.”

Anwar Young 

Anwar works across traditional punu crafting, contemporary sculptural practice, new media and photography. He engages with traditional men’s punu (wood) crafting mediums to create contemporary works that explore the challenges faced living in a remote community.

Anwar was one of the first younger generations of men involved in the Kulata Tjuta Project, initiated by his grandfathers, Willy Kaika Burton and Frank Young in Amata Community. This cross-generational project was a cultural preservation initiative developed by the senior men of Amata to spark economic, artistic and cultural value in the traditional craft of making Kulata – spears. The Kulata Tjuta Project has subsequently spread across the APY Lands.

Currently Anwar is pursuing his interest in film and new media in a project supported by state funding for the production of a short film that explores his own cultural identity and place in traditional and contemporary Amata.

Barayuwa Munungurr 

Barayuwa works primarily in sculpture and painting, he is a skilled maker of yiḏaki, gaḻpu (spear-throwers), gara (spears) and biḻma (clap-sticks).

His work depicts his own Djapu clan designs as well as his mother’s Munyuku clan designs. Extending on traditional designs through his own interpretation, Barayuwa’s work shows an experimental approach characteristic of a younger generation of artists now working at Buku-Larrnggay Mulka.

Barayuwa’s paintings refer to stories focused on the Munyuku waters at Yarrinya. They describe the water passages, wind and cloud formations reflecting into the water and the powers within the salt waters for which he is custodian.

Kathy Ramsey 

Kathy is a painter, dancer, carver and a key cultural figure in the new generation of artists emerging from Warmun Art Centre.

She paints her ancestral Country around Bow River, incorporating rich Ngarranggarni stories with recent histories of station life, as well as religious iconography from her strong Catholic spirituality. Kathy’s cultural tradition and knowledge extend beyond her painting practice to include her role as a dancer of ceremony, specifically the Marnem, Marnem Dililib Benuwarrnji (Fire, Fire Burning Bright) Joonba and Waanga.

The John Fries Award, curated by interdisciplinary artist, academic and curator, Consuelo Cavaniglia , is an annual $10,000 art award recognising the talents of early career visual artists from Australia and New Zealand. 

The award winner will be announced at the exhibition opening on 10 August 2017. Each fi􀁳nalist will present multiple works in the exhibition, open to the public at Sydney’s UNSW Galleries from 11 August - 2 September 2017.

The complete list of Finalists:

1. Amanda Williams (Sydney, New South Wales) – photography and installation

2. Angela Tiatia (Sydney, New South Wales) – multidisciplinary

3. Anwar Young (Amata, South Australia) – sculpture and new media

4. Barayuwa Mununggurr ( Wandawuy, Northern Territory) – sculpture and painting

5. Ben Leslie (Adelaide, South Australia) – sculpture

6. Bridget Reweti (Wellington, New Zealand) – video and performance

7. Claudia Nicholson (Sydney, New South Wales) – multidisciplinary

8. Fayen d’Evie (Muckleford, Victoria) – installation, performance, writing and publishing

9. Ella Sutherland (Christchurch, New Zealand) – text based art and graphic design

10. Kuba Dorabialski (Sydney, New South Wales) – video and performance

11. Tina Havelock Stevens (Sydney, New South Wales) – multidisciplinary

12. Kathy Ramsey (Warmun, Western Australia) – painting

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