The National Art School Fellowship acknowledges the achievements of eminent visual artists, arts administrators, writers, advocates and academics who have made outstanding contributions to the visual arts community in Australia. The Fellowship is an honorary award for exceptional achievement and / or service within the professional domain, awarded annually by the National Art School.
The 2023 recipients of National Art School Fellowships have been announced, with the honour bestowed upon Mike Parr and Joan Ross.
The 2023 Fellows were honoured at a celebratory dinner on Thursday 18 May 2023, held at the Cell Block Theatre.
Presented at the annual Graduation ceremony alongside completing Bachelor, Master and Doctor of Fine Art students, the Fellowship is the School’s highest award.
Since the late 1960s, Mike Parr has developed a unique and highly visible artistic identity through his work that encompasses live performance, photography, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and installation. Though largely regarded as a ‘self-taught’ artist, Parr enrolled at the National Art School in 1968 to study Painting, and in 1970 – with a burgeoning interest in conceptual art – he became a founding member of the seminal artist-run initiative Inhobdress, with artists Tim Johnson and other ambitious young artists of the ‘NAS milieu’ including Peter Kennedy and Bill Brown. Though relatively short-lived, Inhibodress would effectively become a template for many Artist Run Initiatives that would follow in the ensuing decades. Parr’s work has been the subject of many solo exhibitions, including major survey shows such as Brain Coral, National Art School Gallery, (2012); Mike Parr Edelweiss, Kunsthalle Wein, Vienna (2012); and Volte Face: Mike Parr Prints & Preprints 1970–2005, MCA Sydney (2006). Parr has made many contributions as an exhibiting artist and visiting lecturer, including delivering the keynote address for the inaugural NAS Drawing Symposium in 2019. He is a regular visitor to NAS graduate exhibitions who engages enthusiastically with the work of emerging artists.
Since the late 1980s, Joan Ross has worked across painting, video, sculpture, installation and drawing. Responding to the work of colonial-era painters such as Thomas Gainsborough and Joseph Lycett, Ross’s work investigates the impact of colonial (and contemporary) approaches to ownership and collecting and the impact that these attitudes have had upon Indigenous Australians and contemporary understandings of national identity. Ross completed a Certificate in Painting at the National Art School in 1981 before going on to complete a Fine Art degree at City Art Institute and a Master of Fine Arts at COFA, UNSW. In 2017 Ross was the inaugural winner of the Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize and the Sir John Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Her work is held in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, MCA, all Australian state gallery collections and the National Art School Collection. Ross has been a long-standing supporter of NAS regularly engaging with the school and over recent years has been a visiting lecturer in the Printmaking department.