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Sobey Art Award Moves to National Gallery of Canada

The Sobey Art Foundation announced a new partnership with the National Gallery of Canada this morning. The partnership will see the NGC become the organizing institution of the Sobey Art Award in 2016, a move from the award’s founding institutional partner, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and a sign of an increasingly international focus for the award.

“The Sobey Art Award has become the pinnacle of contemporary Canadian art,” said NGC director and CEO, Marc Mayer, in a statement this morning. “Its long list is the most important annually recurring document in our national dialogue around contemporary art. The entire team at the National Gallery looks forward to enhancing its program and leveraging this new partnership to increase awareness of young Canadian artists around the world.”

The Sobey Art Award is given to a visual artist age 40 or under who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated. The winner receives $50,000, while each of four shortlisted finalists receives $10,000, and $500 goes to each of the remaining longlisted artists.

This structure will not be affected by the institutional shift, and the prize will continue to have an annual longlist, shortlist and regional juried selection. The annual exhibition of finalists’ works will be presented at the NGC and institutions throughout the country.

Josée Drouin-Brisebois, the NGC’s senior curator of contemporary art, will be the 2016 jury chair.

The award, now in its 13th year, was given this year to Ontario artist Abbas Akhavan. Other finalists included Raymond Boisjoly (West Coast and Yukon), Sarah Anne Johnson (Prairies and the North), Jon Rafman (Quebec) and Lisa Lipton (Atlantic). In addition to Akhavan, past recipients include Nadia Myre (2014), Duane Linklater (2013), David Altmejd (2009) and Brian Jungen (2002).

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