Emerging artists are some of the most important voices for creativity shaping our society.

As part of UNSW Art & Design's commitment to foster emerging artists and creative practices, UNSW Galleries partners with the Copyright Agency I Viscopy to present the annual $10,000 John Fries Award. 

Since it was established seven years ago, the John Fries Award has promoted and exposed the work of talented Australian and New Zealander artists to the broad public, and in this process ensured that the practitioners themselves gain first-hand experience working with a curator and networking with industry representatives. The Award represents an important exchange between the industry peak artists rights and IP body the Copyright Agency, arts educators, students, early-career artists, audiences, and funding bodies. 

Of the more than one thousand entries for the 2016 Award, 14 emerging artists from across Australia have been selected for display at UNSW Galleries. Exhibition guest curator, Oliver Watts, describes the artwork selected for the Award show this year as “brave and confronting, playful and surprising”.

Loosely themed "neo-normal", the exhibition explores the construct of contemporary cultural norms and the individual allegiances people bring to them. Simultaneously intriguing yet alienating, the artworks – including pink clad spidermen dancing the Macarena and a modern twist on the psychosexual Freudian picture test – pose questions as to how people relate to one another and define themselves.

2016 John Fries Award finalists are Uri Auerbach (UNSW Art & Design graduate), Tim Gregory (UNSW Art & Design graduate), James Nguyen, Angela Tiatia, Barbara Moore, Lilly Morton, Sam Clague, Daniel McKewen, Sarah Poulgrain, Jessie Bullivant, Eric Demetriou, Xanthe Dobbie, Jake Preval and Debbie Symons.

The Award was established by the Fries family in memory of former Copyright Agency | Viscopy director and honorary treasurer, John Fries, who made a remarkable contribution to the life and success of the organisation.

The exhibition runs until 1 October, 2016 at UNSW Galleries, UNSW Art & Design Paddington campus.