The Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada are delighted to announce the five finalists for the 2019 Sobey Art Award. As one of the world’s most prestigious contemporary art prizes, the Sobey Art Award is presented annually to a Canadian visual artist age 40 and under.
“The Sobey Art Award helps to keep the National Gallery of Canada current within the dynamic landscape of contemporary art in Canada. It offers invaluable opportunities to exchange ideas between curators and artists across the country, and the chance to learn about a myriad of different artistic practices." notes Dr. Sasha Suda, CEO and Director of the National Gallery of Canada. “It’s an initiative that supports and promotes Canada’s talent at home and abroad, which is core to our mission and mandate as the Nation’s Gallery.”
The Sobey Art Award distributes $240,000 CAD in prize money to 25 artists, including a top prize of $100,000 CAD. Each of the four finalists will receive $25,000 CAD, and the other longlisted artists will receive $2,000 CAD each. In addition to monetary awards, three artists from the longlist will be selected by the jury to take part in the Sobey Art Award Residencies Program, while one shortlisted artist will be selected by Fogo Island Arts to attend an annual residency on Fogo Island, Newfoundland.
An exhibition of works by the five shortlisted artists will be presented at the Art Gallery of Alberta from October 5, 2019 to January 5, 2020. The grand prize winner of the 2019 Sobey Art Award will be announced at a gala hosted by the Art Gallery of Alberta on November 15, 2019. The recipients of the international residencies will be revealed on September 18, 2019, while the Fogo Island Arts residency winner will be announced in the weeks following the gala.
The five shortlisted artists are:
From the Atlantic region: D’Arcy Wilson
From Québec: Nicolas Grenier
From Ontario: Stephanie Comilang
From the Prairies and the North: Kablusiak
From the West Coast and the Yukon: Anne Low
The shortlisted artists were selected from a longlist of 25 nominees by an international jury. The 2019 jury, chaired by National Gallery of Canada’s Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Josée Drouin-Brisebois, is composed of Peter Dykhuis, Director/Curator, Dalhousie Art Gallery, for the Atlantic Provinces; Jo-Ann Kane, Curator, National Bank Collection, for the Quebec region; Swapnaa Tamhane, Independent Curator, Artist, and Writer, for the Ontario region; Lindsey Sharman, Curator, Art Gallery of Alberta, for the Prairies and the North region; Nigel Prince, Executive Director, Contemporary Art Gallery, for the West Coast and Yukon; and international juror, Henriette Bretton-Meyer, Curator, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Firstly I would like to thank the jury for the engagement and thoughtfulness they brought, which contributed to an enlightened discussion. I also want to acknowledge the commitment of the nominators, who offered exceptional and surprising submissions for the Sobey Art Award this year. The 2019 shortlist echoes the jury’s excitement about younger practices in all regions of the country and will bring new awareness to the five artists' inventive work.” said Josée Drouin-Brisebois. “We are looking forward to experiencing their work at the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton this fall.”
ABOUT THE SHORTLISTED ARTISTS
Stephanie Comilang [Ontario]
Artist Stephanie Comilang divides her practice between Toronto and Berlin. Her documentary-based works create narratives that look at how our understandings of mobility, wealth and labour on a global scale are shaped through various cultural and social factors. Her work has been shown at the Ghost:2561 Bangkok video and performance art triennale, SALTS Basel, UCLA, International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Asia Art Archive in America (New York). She received her BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design.
Nicolas Grenier [Québec]
Nicolas Grenier, who lives and works in Montreal and Los Angeles, has a BFA from Concordia University (Montreal), an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (Santa Clarita), and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Maine). His interest lies in the distorted connections between the many systems we inhabit—political, economic, cultural and social—and the principles or absence of principles at the root of these systems. His work has been exhibited at the Power Plant (Toronto), Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, Gagosian (Athens) and Union Gallery (London, U.K.).
Kablusiak [Prairies and the North]
Kablusiak is an Inuvialuk artist and curator based in Mohkinstsis (Calgary), and a board member of Stride Gallery (Mohkinstsis). Awards include the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize and Kablusiak has recently exhibited work at Art Mûr (Montreal) and at the Athens School of Fine Arts in Greece, as part of the Platforms Project. Kablusiak uses art and humour to address cultural displacement. The lighthearted nature of the artist’s practice extends gestures of empathy and solidarity; these interests invite reconsideration of the perceptions of contemporary indigeneity.
Anne Low [West Coast & Yukon]
Anne Low uses sculpture, installation, textiles and printmaking to investigate how everyday objects can detach themselves from their historical context and speak to contemporary subjects such as the domestic and the decorative. Recent solo exhibitions include Chair for a woman (Vancouver), Paperstainer (Toronto), and A wall as a table with candlestick legs (Stockholm). Her collaboration with Evan Calder Williams — The Fine Line of Deviation — has been exhibited at Forum Expanded (Berlin), Mercer Union (Toronto), and ISSUE Project Room (New York City).
D’Arcy Wilson [Atlantic]
D’Arcy Wilson’s art laments past and ongoing colonial interactions with the natural world from her perspective as a descendent of European settlers in Canada. Her interdisciplinary work has been presented across the country, most recently at the Dalhousie Art Gallery (Halifax), Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Fredericton) and Owens Art Gallery (Sackville). She is currently based in Corner Brook, where she is Assistant Professor in the Visual Arts Program on Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Grenfell Campus.
About the Sobey Art Award process
The National Gallery of Canada accepts nominations for the Sobey Art Award from recognized agents and institutions. From the list of nominated artists, the international jury panel creates a longlist of 25 artists – five artists from each of five geographical regions of Canada. The panel will then choose one representative from each region to be included on the national shortlist, which is announced in June and featured in the 2019 Sobey Art Award exhibition. The jurors oversee the selection process for the international residency program as well.
About the Sobey Art Award
Since its launch in 2002, the Sobey Art Award has profiled more than 230 Canadian artists through its longlist process. For recipients, the Sobey Art Award has become a mark of distinction that has steered the artists toward national and international recognition. Past grand prize winners include Brian Jungen, Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Annie Pootoogook, Michel de Broin, Tim Lee, David Altmejd, Daniel Barrow, Daniel Young and Christian Giroux, Raphaëlle de Groot, Duane Linklater, Nadia Myre, Abbas Akhavan, Jeremy Shaw and Ursula Johnson. Kapwani Kiwanga received the 2018 Sobey Art Award last November at the National Gallery of Canada.
About the Sobey Art Foundation
The Sobey Art Foundation was established in 1981 with a mandate to carry on the work of entrepreneur and business leader, the late Frank H. Sobey, to collect and preserve representative examples of 19th- and 20th-century Canadian art. The Art Foundation has assembled outstanding examples from Canadian Masters such as Cornelius Krieghoff, Tom Thomson and J. E. H. MacDonald. The collection is on view in the former home of Frank Sobey and his wife Irene in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada’s premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st centuries, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. In 2015, the National Gallery of Canada established the Canadian Photography Institute, a global multidisciplinary research centre dedicated to the history, evolution and future of photography. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
About the Art Gallery of Alberta
The Art Gallery of Alberta is a centre of excellence for the visual arts in Western Canada, connecting people, art and ideas. The AGA is focused on the development and presentation of original exhibitions of contemporary and historical art from Alberta, Canada and around the world. The AGA also offers a full-range of art education and public programs. Founded in 1924, the Art Gallery of Alberta is the oldest cultural institution in Alberta, and the only museum in the province solely dedicated to the exhibition and preservation of art and visual culture. For more information visit www.youraga.ca.
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