On April 13, 2016, the National Gallery of Canada announced the longlist for the Sobey Art Award. From the conceptual work of artists like Raymond Boisjoly and Derek Sullivan to the perfomance-based work of Meryl McMaster and Lisa Lipton, to artists like Brenda Draney (painting), Jessica Eaton (photography), and Karen Tam (installation) who put a new spin on traditional media, the Sobey Art Award longlist not only serves as something of a who’s who in Canadian contemporary art, but also takes the pulse of current art practices across the country.
As the Sobey Art Foundation seeks to expand its national and international influence, the Sobey Art Award is moving to the National Gallery of Canada. Rob Sobey, Donald’s son and Chair of the Sobey Art Foundation, which funds the Award, explained the move as the “logical next step” in the process of building what has become Canada’s most significant contemporary art prize.
Upon winning the 2015 Sobey Art Award, Abbas Akhavan told NGC Magazine that the recognition makes him want to give back. "Generosity begets generosity, and my ambition is that we can all reciprocate. Not just in the arts, but in life in general.”
For the second time in two years, a Canadian-born artist has been shortlisted for one of the world’s most prestigious and talked-about art awards: the Turner Prize. Born in Toronto and based in London, Janice Kerbel has been singled out for her operatic work, DOUG (2014).
“All three of them are very interested in history,” says Andrea Kunard. “How we remember things or how we don’t; how photography can be a transcription of events for the future, but also leaves so much unspoken.” Yet, she adds, “they are all very different in their approaches to photography and have produced distinct bodies of work.” Kunard, Associate Curator of Photographs at the National Gallery of Canada, is referring to the shortlisted photographers for the 2015 Scotiabank Photography Award: Rafael Goldchain, Angela Grauerholz, and Isabelle Hayeur.
The Turner Prize, set up in 1984, is an annual contemporary art prize awarded to a British artist under the age of 50 for an exhibition or presentation of their work in the year leading up to the award’s announcement. This year, Ottawa-born artist Ciara Philips was nominated for her exhibition Workshop 2010 Ongoing.
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