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VISUAL ARTS AWARDS FOR TWO EXTRAORDINARY CAREERS

Two outstanding careers in the visual arts are today recognised with the Australia Council Visual Arts Laureate Award and Laureate Medal, at a ceremony at Canberra’s National Gallery of Australia.

Leading Australian contemporary artist Fiona Hall receives the $40,000 Australia Council Visual Arts Laureate Award, acknowledging her exceptional achievements as a visual artist and her outstanding contribution to the development of Australian art.

“Fiona is an exceptional artist who transforms ordinary everyday objects to address big ideas such as globalisation, consumerism, colonialism and natural history,” says Professor Ted Snell, Chair of the Australia Council Visual Arts Board. “She does it with skill, with wit, with insight and with amazing energy,”

“Her work has become iconic in the lexicon of contemporary Australian art practice; her magically transformed sardine cans, her transmogrified knitted video tape and her re-imagined bank notes are instantly recognisable and unanimously embraced as works of great beauty,” says Professor Snell.

Fiona Hall first emerged on the arts scene in the 1970s as a photographer, but during the 1980s transitioned to using a diverse range of art forms. Her ever-growing repertoire includes sculpture, painting, installation, garden design and video.

With a career now spanning four decades, and continuing unabated, her work is represented in every major public art collection in Australia. She has been included in many national and international exhibitions and undertaken numerous sought after residencies.

She won the prestigious Contempora 5 Art Award at the National Gallery of Australia in 1997, she was included in the 2010 Sydney Biennale and Last year was awarded the Artist Award from the Melbourne Art Foundation in recognition of her achievement in the visual arts through a comprehensive body of work.

Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Ron Radford AM receives the Laureate Medal for his outstanding contribution to the development of the Australian cultural sector.

In over thirty years of working in the art museum profession in Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, he has been responsible for the acquisition of approximately 15,000 works of art and has personally curated almost sixty exhibitions. He is also the author of numerous catalogues and books and was appointed Australian Commissioner for the 1999 Venice Biennale.

“Ron is indeed larger than life, he has an exceptional ability to project his vision for a Gallery to enthuse those around him,” says Professor Snell. “His support of Australian art and Australian artists has been quite simply phenomenal, throughout his career many have benefited from his good counsel, his generosity and his advocacy.”

Ron has served on many national and state boards and committees, including five years as a member of the Australia Council and Chair of the Visual Arts/Craft Board (from 1997– 2002). He was a foundation member of the National Portrait Gallery Board from 1997 to 2005 and its Deputy Chair from 2001 to 2005.

“Fiona Hall and Ron Radford are exceptional individuals whose commitment and energy is renowned,” concludes Professor Snell. “Both are consummate professionals and both are enthusiasts whose passion is transmitted to others with great energy and panache through their work.”

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