Each year a panel of three judges consider all the entries and curates an exhibition of finalists before settling upon a single winner. The 2019 judging panel includes MGA Director Anouska Phizacklea, Director of the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Chris Saines and acclaimed artist Dr Christian Thompson AO.
Meet the judges
Anouska Phizacklea (BA (hons), MA, MCom, CPA, GAICD) is Director of Monash Gallery of Art (MGA). She has expertise across the visual, decorative and literary arts as well as finance management and organisational development, with Masters Degrees in both Fine Arts and Commerce. She has held senior management positions at leading Victorian public institutions, Heide Museum of Modern Art and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), and worked for many years in art research and valuations in galleries and auction houses in Melbourne and London.
Chris Saines is Director of the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Brisbane, Australia. He has worked for over 35 years in leading galleries in Australia and New Zealand as a director, curatorial and collection manager, educator and curator. As Director of QAGOMA since 2013, he has overseen major exhibitions by top international artists Cai Guo-Qiang, David Lynch, Cindy Sherman, Yayoi Kusama, Gerhard Richter and Patricia Piccinini. He has driven record attendance for the gallery and steered the eighth and ninth editions of the flagship exhibition series, The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. His current focus is to reinvigorate the original Queensland Art Gallery building and drive the creation of a dedicated all ages learning centre for the gallery.
Previously, Saines was Director of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand from 1996–2013. He is currently Chair of the Council of Australian Art Museum Directors, has judged major national art prizes, and sat on the selection panels for both Australia and New Zealand’s representation at the Venice Biennale.
Dr Christian Thompson AO is an Australian born contemporary artist whose work explores notions of identity, cultural hybridity and history. Formally trained as a sculptor, Thompson’s multidisciplinary practice engages mediums such as photography, video, sculpture, performance and sound. His work focuses on the exploration of identity, sexuality, gender, race and memory. In his live performances and conceptual portraits he inhabits a range of personas achieved through handcrafted costumes and carefully orchestrated poses and backdrops. In 2010 Thompson made history when he became the first Aboriginal Australian to be admitted into the University of Oxford in its 900-year history. He is currently a research affiliate at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. Thompson holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (Fine Art), Trinity College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom; Master of Theatre, Amsterdam School of Arts, Das Arts, The Netherlands; Masters of Fine Art (Sculpture), RMIT University and Honours (Sculpture), RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia and a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. His works are held in major international and national collections. In 2018 he was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the visual arts as a sculptor, photographer, video and performance artist, and as a role model for young Indigenous artists.