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The Sobey Art Award shortlist has been announced

1 June 2016

The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) has announced the five shortlisted artists for the 2016 Sobey Art Award. This annual prize for contemporary Canadian art is given to an artist aged 40 or under who has exhibited in either a public or a private gallery within the last 18 months. Since its inception in 2002, the award aims to be a mark of distinction for Canadian artists that will bolster their status across the globe.

The five finalists, who each represent one of the five regions of Canada, have been selected from a longlist of 25 artists. $50,000 will be awarded to the winner of the prize, with $10,000 each going to the other four. Here is a quick round up of the nominees. Who do you think should win?

Charles Stankievech: Ontario

This multidisciplinary artist creates sculptures, ‘fieldworks’, sound pieces, installations and films that scrutinise the history and geopolitics of space. Stankievech also has a prominent role in arts education: he is a founding faculty member of the Yukon School of Visual Arts, as well as being the director of Visual Studies in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design in Toronto.

Distant Early Warning Project

Distant Early Warning Project (2009), Charles Stankievech. © Charles Stankievech

William Robinson: Atlantic

Robinson is preoccupied with how music and sound can transform how we understand different spaces and environments. He’s currently focusing on metal objects, investigating how they are made, as well as their material and cultural significance. The artist uses a broad range of media, including performance, site-specific installations, video, musical composition, sculpture and printed matter.

Young Prayer

Young Prayer (2011), William Robinson. Photo: Jeff Bierk

Hajra Waheed: Quebec

Waheed also takes a multidisciplinary approach in her work, using collage, video, sound and sculpture, as well as creating interactive installations. Through these different media, she examines the impact of mass surveillance on society, and the the alienation and trauma felt by those displaced by mass migration. Read our review of her recent exhibition at BALTIC here.

The Cyphers 1–18

The Cyphers 1–18 (2016), Hajra Waheed. Photo: Colin Davison

Brenda Draney: Prairies & North

This is the second time that Draney has been in the running for the Sobey Art Award: she was longlisted in 2013. In her work, Draney reflects on her experiences and relationships formed between the northern community of Slave Lake, Alberta where she grew up and her current home in Edmonton.

Night Sky (for Sandi)

Night Sky (for Sandi) (2013), Brenda Draney. Photo: Trident Photography

Jeremy Shaw

Techniques taken from conceptual art, ethnographic films, music videos, and mystical and scientific research often collide in Shaw’s work. Working in various media, Shaw is interested in creating art where disparate ideals, belief-systems and narration are deliberately confused or challenged.

Quickeners (film still)

Quickeners (film still) (2014), Jeremy Shaw.

The Sobey Art Award will be on show at the National Gallery of Canada from 6 October 2016–5 February 2017. The winner will be announced on 1 November 2016.