Media releases

Finalists announced for GNAP17 at FedUni Arts Academy

Posted: Thursday 9 February 2017

Fourteen finalists have been announced for the third biennial $20,000 Guirguis New Art Prize (GNAP).

The strong field of 2017 finalists includes Abdul Abdullah and Jumaadi from New South Wales; Joel Arthur and Peter Vandermark from Australian Capital Territory; Julia McInerney and Julia Robinson from South Australia; Brian Robinson from Queensland; Erin Coates and Alistair Rowe from Western Australia; and Esther Stewart, Carly Fischer, Natasha Johns-Messenger, Yhonnie Scarce and the collective DAMP (Narelle Desmond, Deb Kunda, Sharon Goodwin and James Lynch) from Victoria.

"GNAP forges new ways to consider and experience contemporary art,” Bryce Ives, Director of Federation University Australia’s Arts Academy, said.

“We present this significant national event because it connects our students and community to bold and innovative new work."

Administered by the Arts Academy and presented in association with the generous support of the Art Gallery of Ballarat (AGB), the exhibition will again be presented at the two gallery sites – FedUni’s Post Office Gallery and the AGB.

Ballarat surgeon, Mr Mark Guirguis, made the Prize possible through his pledge to FedUni’s Arts Academy in 2008 to administer five $20,000 national art prizes for the city.

In entrusting FedUni to administer the Prize, Mark Guirgus’ aims were to highlight the importance of FedUni’s Arts Academy and to celebrate the significance of contemporary art and ‘living’ culture in the city of Ballarat.

“GNAP17 brings together an eclectic field of fourteen strong, exciting projects created by contemporary artists from around Australia – providing a rich mix of media, approaches and individual styles of visual language,” Shelley Hinton, Curator of the Post Office Gallery and curator of GNAP, said.

“The 2017 exhibition will include video, sculpture, painting, photography, textiles, installation and sound, with several hybridised mixed-media installations.

“It will explore richly layered ideas surrounding illusion and the ‘gaze’; domestic and gender issues; indigenous culture and traditions; fantasy, fact and fiction, and life, death and politics.”

Simon Maidment, GNAP17 judge and Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria, will announce the GNAP17 winner on Friday 24 March at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

The winning artist’s work in GNAP17 will add enormous value to FedUni’s Art Collection, joining the inaugural winning work of Ash Keating’s highly charged three-channel video installation, West Park Proposition, 2012, and GNAP15 winner Lou Hubbard’s dramatic installation, Dead Still Standing, 2014.

A broad range of public programs for GNAP17 will include artist talks on Wednesday nights at the AGB.

Disruption and Art, a forum featuring Abdul Abdullah, will be held on Saturday 8 April.

“A special education program of teacher/student previews and talks and robotic workshops for tots, teens and adults will also coincide with the Prize,” Shelley Hinton said.

“These will be a rich study resource for secondary and tertiary art students.

“Since the Prize’s inaugural launch in 2013, GNAP has supported forty artists working in new and emerging media and technologies, from every state and territory in Australia. GNAP is now firmly positioned on the national visual arts calendar.

“A key aspect of the Prize is realising the ongoing benefit to artists who have either been selected as finalists or won the Prize,” Shelley Hinton said.

“As GNAP artists are working nationally and internationally, it’s an important contemporary art exhibition to see.

“GNAP17 will surprise, inspire and challenge audiences and expand our views on contemporary art in individual ways.”

“As a result of Mark Guirguis’ initiative and five acquisitions from GNAP winning artists, the exhibition will represent nearly a decade of Australian contemporary art – a wonderful legacy from Mark Guirguis for FedUni and the local and broader community.”

Further information may be accessed at

The Art Gallery of Ballarat and Post Office Gallery will be open from 10am to 5pm daily. Entry is free.

Contact Matthew Freeman
Senior Advisor, Media and Government Relations
03 5327 9510; 0408 519 674