Exhibition of the 2017 Sobey Art Award Finalists Highlights Diversity and Excellence in Canadian Contemporary Art
October 23, 2017
The Sobey Art Award is Canada’s most prestigious contemporary art prize for professional artists under 40
$110,000 will be awarded to young Canadian artists
The National Gallery of Canada, in collaboration with the Sobey Art Foundation, presents a special exhibition featuring the work of the five finalists short listed for the prestigious 2017 Sobey Art Award. The show opens Thursday, October 24 at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto and runs until December 9, 2017.
The exhibition highlights work by established artists from across Canada selected from a long list of exceptional nominees: Ursula Johnson from the Atlantic region; Jacynthe Carrier from Québec; Bridget Moser from Ontario; Divya Mehra from the Prairies and the North; and Raymond Boisjoly from the West Coast and the Yukon.
The 2017 Sobey Art Award exhibition is organized by Sarah Robayo Sheridan, Curator of the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. The exhibition features ambitious works of art created in a wide range of art forms, from performance, to sculpture, installation, video, and photo-text based works.
The 2017 Sobey Art Award shortlisted artists work across the country and their production represent a diverse range of artistic practices and approaches. Raymond Boisjoly (Vancouver, British Columbia) is an Indigenous artist of Haida descent whose photographic and text-based works reference pop culture in order to rethink representations of indigeneity. Using both photography and video, Jacynthe Carrier (Quebec City, Quebec) creates mesmerizing contemporary allegories that reimagine relationships between individuals and communities and the land they inhabit. Ursula Johnson (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) is a performance and installation artist of Mi’kmaw First Nation ancestry whose work engages and interrogates outdated ethnographic and anthropological approaches to understanding Indigenous cultural practices. Divya Mehra(Winnipeg, Manitoba; Delhi and New York) creates satirical and compelling work that questions the effects of colonization and racism and the construct of “diversity.” Bridget Moser (Toronto, Ontario) is a performance and video artist whose spoken monologues draw from prop comedy, experimental theatre, absurd literature and intuitive dance to create situations of pathos, humour, and awkwardness.
The six 2017 Sobey Award jury members are Sarah Fillmore, Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Atlantic); Claude Bélanger, General and Artistic Director, Manif d’art (Québec); Sarah Robayo Sheridan, Curator, Art Museum at the University of Toronto (Ontario); Jenifer Papararo, Executive Director at the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art (Prairies and the North); Reid Shier, Executive Director, The Polygon Gallery (West Coast and the Yukon) and Adam Budak, Chief Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the National Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic. This is the second time the committee includes an international jury member. Nicolaus Schafhausen, the Artistic Director at the Kunsthalle, in Vienna, Austria, participated in 2016.
The winner of the 2017 Sobey Art Award will be announced at a gala at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto on October 25, 2017.
The Sobey Art Award was inaugurated in 2002 and is funded by the Sobey Art Foundation. The Gallery, in collaboration with the Sobey Art Foundation, took on the role of administering the award in 2016, building on the success generated by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Award’s founding partner institution.
“We are thrilled to be able to work with the Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada to present the Sobey Art Award exhibition at the Art Museum. It is only the third time in the 16-year history of the award that this important event comes to Toronto, and we are proud to be able share such great artists’ work with the arts community and the broader audience in the city.” – Barbara Fischer, Director of the Art Museum at the University of Toronto
“On behalf of the Sobey Art Foundation, we are delighted to see this year’s short listed artists welcomed by the Museum at the University of Toronto. This is the first Sobey Art Award at a University gallery which has enabled the 2017 jury and its curator to undertake important new initiatives to further the Award’s mandate.” – Rob Sobey, Chair of the Sobey Art Foundation.
“The National Gallery of Canada is very proud to partner with the Sobey Art Foundation to showcase for a second year some of the best young artists in Canada whose practices stand out for their originally and artistic vigour. I am particularly impressed by the diversity of this year’s shortlisted artists and pleased that the exhibition and Gala for this prestigious prize are taking place in Toronto, one of Canada’s cultural capitals.” – Marc Mayer, Director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada
Sobey Art Award Exhibition Opening Event
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 6 pm
University of Toronto Art Centre
Shortlist Panel Talk
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 from 4:30 to 6 pm
University College, Room 140
Canadian journalist, art critic, academic and founder and the editor-at-large of Border Crossings, Robert Enright, will be the moderator of a panel discussion with the five short listed artists for 2017 Sobey Art Award, Canada’s prestigious contemporary art prize for professional artists 40 and under,. Registration is free, but a prebooked ticket is required to attend this panel talk. For more information and to reserve tickets: https://goo.gl/cXghTv
Admission to the University of Toronto Art Centre is free. It is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 12 – 5 pm, and on Wednesdays from 12 – 8 pm.
Meet the 2017 Sobey Art Award Winner
Friday, 27 October 2017 at 2:30 pm, the winner of the 2017 Sobey Art Award, will be at Art Toronto’s center-stage with Mary Lynk – award winning journalist and producer for CBC radio’s IDEAS program- to talk about his/her work and career. For more information, visit artortonto.ca
Performance by Bridget Moser – A program of the 2017 Sobey Art Award
Saturday October 28 at 2 pm; Wednesday November 8 at 7 pm; Friday November 17 at 3 pm; Saturday November 25 at 2 pm, at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, University of Toronto Art Centre University College, 15 King’s College Circle. Free admission. For more information, visit The Sobey Art Award – Events
About the Art Museum at the University of Toronto
The Art Museum is comprised of the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (Hart House) and the University of Toronto Art Centre (University College). Located just a few steps apart, the two galleries were federated in 2014 and began operating under a new visual identity as the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, one of the largest gallery spaces for visual art exhibitions and programming in Toronto. Building on the two galleries’ distinguished histories, the Art Museum organizes and presents an intensive year-round program of exhibitions and events that foster — at a local, regional, and international level — innovative research, interdisciplinary scholarship, and knowledge of art and its histories befitting Canada’s leading university and the country’s largest city.
About the Sobey Art Award
The Sobey Art Award was created in 2002 by the Sobey Art Foundation. It is an annual prize given to an artist aged 40 and under, who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated. The winner receives $50,000, the four finalists are awarded $10,000 each, and the long listed artists receive $1,000. For more information please visit gallery.ca/sobey and follow us on
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 by collecting and preserving representative examples of 19th- and 20th-century Canadian art. The Foundation has since broadened its scope to support contemporary Canadian art through the Sobey Art Award. In one of the finest private collections of its kind, the Sobey Art Foundation has assembled outstanding examples from Canadian masters such as Cornelius Krieghoff, Tom Thomson and J. E. H. MacDonald. The collection is housed in an intimate setting at Crombie House, 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 center 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
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For all media enquiries, please contact:
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada
Sobey Art Foundation
902-752-8371, ext. 2301 or 902-92101755