ANU alumni finalists in the John Fries Award 2019

Dean Cross, BARRICADE, 2018, HD video and sound, 3:57. 2018 installation view, ‘RUNS DEEP’ Alaska Projects. Photo: Document Photography.
Tuesday 9 April 2019

Two ANU School of Art & Design alumni, Dean Cross and Elena Papanikolakis, have been selected as finalists in the 10th annual John Fries Award 2019.

The John Fries Award is a $10,000 non-acquisitive award recognising the talents of early career visual artists from Australia and New Zealand. In 2019, the John Fries Award is led by respected Melbourne-based visual arts curator and writer Miriam Kelly. Miriam is also alumni from the ANU School of Art & Design (Textiles and the Center for Art History and Art Theory).  

Dean Cross was born and raised on Ngunnawal/Ngambri Country and is of Worimi descent. He is a trans-disciplinary artist primarily working across installation, sculpture and photography. His career began in contemporary dance, performing and choreographing nationally and internationally for over a decade with Australia’s leading dance companies. Following that Dean re-trained as a visual artist, gaining his Bachelor’s Degree from Sydney College of the Arts, and his First Class Honours from the ANU School of Art and Design (Sculpture and Spatial Practice).

Elena Papanikolakis works with painting, collage, text, photography and drawing. Her practice explores representations and abstractions of time, place and narrative by engaging with a variety of disparate found material, and material of personal and cultural significance. She graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts First Class Honours (Painting) from the ANU School of Art & Design in 2007. 

Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling says, “The John Fries Award strengthens and champions Australia’s contemporary art culture, as it affords early career artists the space and time to create. Now in its 10th year, the award has been an important benchmark, validating the work of early career artists. It is widely recognised for its role in supporting artists as well as enriching Australia’s cultural life and community.

“This year’s finalists were drawn from close to 500 applications representing a cross-section of early career artists. This award is so exciting because it offers early career artists the opportunity to showcase their vision, and provides audiences an insight into the diverse emerging talent we have in Australia and New Zealand,” Mr Suckling says.

Curator Miriam Kelly says, “Some artists on this list are already known by many, while others may be new to some. This is something we have come to enjoy and expect from the John Fries Award over the past decade.”

“This year’s strong finalists are each distinct in their approaches to materials and conceptual considerations,” Kelly continues. “Their practices showcase a broad spectrum of multi-disciplinary art, yet for this exhibition finalists are drawn together by an interest in storytelling, and the roles of language and intergenerational learning in shaping our futures.”

The 2019 John Fries Award winner will be determined by a panel of guest judges: Miriam Kelly,curator of JFA 2019; José Da Silva, director of UNSW Galleries; Fiona Foley, contemporary Indigenous artist and founding member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artist Co-operative; Gabrielle Mordy, CEO of Studio; and artist Kath Fries, former Viscopy board member and daughter of the late John Fries.

Dean and Elena are two of the ten finalists selected by this year’s judges from over 500 applications which were shortlisted to 40 by Guest Curator Miriam Kelly. For a full list of the finalists, please see the John Fries Award.  

The 2019 John Fries Award is exhibited from 21 June to 27 July 2019 at  UNSW Galleries, located within the UNSW Art & Design campus in Sydney. The award winner will be announced at UNSW Galleries on 21 June 2019.

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Updated:  9 April 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications