Mikala Dwyer curates 20th annual Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize 

  • Twenty-two leading Australian contemporary artists selected to exhibit work for the Prize presented at Sydney’s National Art School Gallery, including Daniel Boyd, Pat Brassington, and Julie Fragar – 

Sydney, Australia: Twenty-two of Australia’s most respected contemporary artists, including one artist duo, have been selected by this year’s guest curator Mikala Dwyer, to present work in the 2016 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize at the National Art School Gallery in Sydney from 14 March until 14 May 2016, with the winner announcement held on 23 March. The Prize is among Australia’s best-known art prizes, spanning all mediums and offering a total of $36,000 in prize money.

Internationally regarded, Sydney-based artist Mikala Dwyer won the main award of the 19th Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize in 2015. Working across installation, sculpture and performance, Dwyer has held solo exhibitions at major institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa.

The Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize is an annual exhibition and acquisitive award presenting recent work by Australian and New Zealand artists. It highlights exciting developments in contemporary art and provides a platform for an artist-selected exhibition that features established artists alongside early-career artists. This unique structure recognises the importance of dialogue and mentoring between generations of artists and provides an opportunity to reward talent and excellence in the contemporary visual arts sector. Participating artists have no limitations on their choice of media or subject matter.

Dwyer’s selection of established artists to participate in the 20th annual Prize includes a great many innovative names in the contemporary art world. Daniel Boyd, who this year was invited to participate in the 56th International Venice Biennale, All the World’s Futures, will present a major new work for the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize. Photo-media artist Pat Brassington, winner of the prestigious Bowness Photography Prize in 2013, will exhibit a work titled Pair Bonding that challenges the audience’s senses and undermines the authority of photography. Julie Fragar is currently working on a major commission funded by the Australia Council for the Arts that explores migration, also to be presented in the 2016 Prize.

The established artists are Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley; John Bloomfield; Daniel Boyd; Pat Brassington; Carla Cescon; Maria Cruz; Julie Fragar; Matthys Gerber; Sarah Goffman; Joan Grounds; Shane Haseman; Ruark Lewis; Elizabeth Newman; Luke Parker; Natalie Puantulura; Elizabeth Pulie; Koji Ryui; Ava Seymour; Mary Teague; David Thomas and Simon Yates.

All participating artists submit a single recent work to contend for one of two prizes. The main award for established artists is the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize, valued at $25,000 and sponsored by Konica Minolta for the third consecutive year. The Emerging Artist Prize is valued at $10,000 and sponsored by the Glenburn Pastoral Company (Brett Whitford).

2016 guest curator Mikala Dwyer commented on her selection process for the established artists: “For the 2016 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize I have invited artists whose practices I have always found exciting, for their deep and creative intelligence, humour, endurance, fluidity, resistance and generosity. 

Together, these artists exhibit the diversity in approach and technique, revealing the broad spectrum of work and ideas being produced in Australia at present. This Prize supports the relationship between artists at different stages in their practice and the abundance of knowledge shared and generated through these relationships.”

In 2016, the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize celebrates its 20th anniversary. From its beginnings in 1996 in the Redlands Gym, to its current presentation as a month-long exhibition held at the National Art School since 2012, the Prize has grown significantly, exhibiting works by acclaimed Australian names such as Arthur Boyd, David Boyd, Tim Maguire, Tim Storrier, Chris Langlois, Garry Shead, Guan Wei, Dorothy Napangardi, Gloria Petyarre, Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Ray Crooke.

The first Redlands Art Prize winner was Imants Tillers, now acknowledged as a leading Australian artist and exhibiting worldwide. Imants also curated the exhibition from 2008 to 2010 and further raised the profile of the Prize by broadening the artworks to include sculpture, installations and video.

The two winning artworks in the established and emerging categories will become part of Redlands School’s permanent art collection, providing a valuable resource for visual arts students and teachers. Over the past two decades Redlands School has built a unique and enviable collection of major works by a range of contemporary artists including 2016 curator and past winner Mikala Dwyer (2015), Vernon Ah Kee (2014), Callum Morton (2013), Ben Quilty (2012), Rodney Pople (2006), Lindy Lee (1998), Gordon Bennett (1997) and Imants Tillers (1996).

The 2016 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize will be exhibited from 14 March until 14 May 2016 at the National Art School Gallery in Sydney’s Darlinghurst, with Prize winners to be awarded at an opening event at the Gallery presented on the evening of 23 March 2016. 


MEDIA CONTACT: To request artist and curator interviews or press imagery of art works in the exhibition, please contact Anna Shapiro [art]iculate, anna@articularepr.com.au, 0417 043 205 or Kym Elphinstone, [art]iculate, kym@articulatepr.com.au, 0421 106 139.

EXHIBITION DETAILS: The 2016 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize will be exhibited from 14 March 2016 until 14 May 2016 at the National Art School Gallery (NAS Gallery), located at Burton Street, Sydney NSW. The winners of the established and emerging artist awards will be announced on 23 March 2016 at a media preview at NAS Gallery with details to be provided closer to the time. The exhibition is free of charge and open to the public Mondays through to Saturdays, 11.00am to 5.00pm. All works are available for purchase with the exception of the winning works that are acquired into the permanent art collection of Redlands School, in accordance with the tradition of the Prize.

For more information on the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize including previous winners visit: https://www.redlands.nsw.edu.au/go/redlands-community/redlands-konica-minolta-art-prize

The emerging artist pairings for the 2016 Prize will be announced in February 2016. 


For the past 30 years, Mikala Dwyer has pushed the limits of installation, sculpture and performance, establishing herself as one of Australia’s most important contemporary artists. She has had solo shows at major institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa. She has also participated in the Sydney and Adelaide Biennales. She was included in Face up: Contemporary Art from Australia at Hamburger Bahnhof in 2003, and Verso Sud at Palazzo Doria Pamphilj in 2000, curated by Franz West. She has had several residencies, including at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery; 200 Gertrude Street, Melbourne and Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. She has received numerous scholarships, grants and awards, and her work is held in public collections throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Full of uncertainties and contradictions, Dwyer’s complex installations never lend themselves to definitive interpretations. Her work has been described as ‘profoundly sociable’; she asks viewers to come in, participate, and find their own meanings. She sets up open-ended conversations that draw our attention to the unseen – to invisible materials such as helium, or the voids between her forms, but also to hidden histories and our own highly personal relationships with magic, memory, sexuality and ritual. While playful and exuberant on their surfaces, her works almost always have something darker beneath the surface.