Sobey Award shortlist for 2019 revealed

This year’s five finalists for the Sobey Art Award have been announced.

The shortlist is composed of artists 40 and under from five regions in Canada:


Stephanie Comilang (Ontario) splits her time between Toronto and Berlin. Her documentary-based films seek to understand the global economy and its impact on  mobility, wealth and labour. 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 is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design.


Nicolas Grenier (Québec) lives and works in Montreal and Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Concordia University in Montreal) and he has an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. His art focussed on the systems we inhabit — political, economic, cultural and social. His work has been exhibited at the Power Plant (Toronto), Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, Gagosian (Athens) and Union Gallery (London, England).


Kablusiak (Prairies and the North) is an Inuvialuk artist and curator based in Calgary, and a board member of Stride Gallery. Awards include the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize. 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 in her work which addresses cultural displacement.

Anne Low (West Coast and Yukon) uses sculpture, installation, textiles and printmaking in her work which investigates how everyday objects can 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).

Anne Low

D’Arcy Wilson (Atlantic) is interested in interactions between the natural world and the European settlers of 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 based in Corner Brook, Newfoundland where she is assistant professor in the Visual Arts Program on Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Grenfell Campus.

The winner of the 2019 Sobey Art Award will receive $100,000. Since it launched in 2002, the award has featured some 230 Canadian artists. Past 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 award last November at the National Gallery.   

D’Arcy Wilson.

The Sobey Art Award distributes $240,000 in prize money to 25 artists. Each of the four finalists will receive $25,000 and the other longlisted artists will receive $2,000 each. Three artists from the longlist will be selected to take part in the Sobey Art Award Residencies Program and one shortlisted artist will be selected by Fogo Island Arts to attend an annual residency on Fogo Island, Newfoundland.

The work of the five shortlisted artists will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of Alberta from Oct. 5 to Jan. 5, 2020. The winner will be announced Nov. 15.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.