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Art by finalist Hajra Waheed. Left, "The Cyphers 1–18", photo by Colin Davison. Right, "Our Naufrage 1–10", photo by Vipul Sangoi.

The 2016 Sobey Art Award : Who will take Canada’s top contemporary art prize?

By Crystal Parsons on October 7, 2016

Have you ever walked into an art gallery and thought “Man, that artist’s work is awesome, someone should give them a prize”? Have you always wanted to be on the cutting edge of contemporary art but, gosh darn it, just don’t have time to get ‘round to all the galleries?

Well, dreams do come true my friend! On display now at the National Gallery of Canada: a special exhibition for the 2016 Sobey Art Award!

Started in 2002, the Sobey Art Award, sponsored by the Sobey Art Foundation is Canada’s top contemporary art prize. Awarded annually to a practising young contemporary artist, it’s the who’s who of what’s happening on the Canadian art scene. This is also the first year the award is being administered by the National Gallery of Canada.

Names of artists are put forward from 5 broad regions across the country for the competition’s long list which is then whittled down by a jury of arts professionals into a regionally representative short list. Each of the artists on the short list will receive an award but only one will take the top prize of $50,000 when the name of the winner is revealed in November.

The 2016 Sobey Art Award special exhibition features work by the artists who made the shortlist. This year they are:

  • From the West Coast and the Yukon: Jeremy Shaw
  • From the Prairies and the North: Brenda Draney
  • From Ontario: Charles Stankievech
  • From Québec: Hajra Waheed
  • From the Atlantic Provinces: William Robinson

This exhibition is a great opportunity to see some of the best idea challenging and boundary-pushing work that’s happening today. Check out the work of some of Canada’s best young artists and decide for yourself – who do you think should win?

Check out the shortlist to learn more about each of the artists and their work. The 2016 Sobey Art Award special exhibition will be on view at the National Gallery of Canada from October 6, 2016 to February 5, 2017. This year’s winner will be announced at a gala event at the National Gallery on November 1st.

Past winner, Abbas Akhavan, gives an artist’s talk at the Gallery on October 20 as part of the Stonecraft Foundation Visiting Artist Lecture Series.