Abbas Akhavan Wins The 2015 Sobey Art Award

Akhavan, representing Ontario, is awarded $50,000 and associated prestige

Halifax, October 28, 2015 - The prestigious 2015 Sobey Art Award has been presented to Abbas Akhavan, representing the region of Ontario, during tonight’s annual Award Announcement Gala at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. The 2015 finalists emerged from a longlist of 25 Canadian artists under the age of 40, each chosen by a curatorial panel comprised of jury members representing five Canadian regions. The winner was chosen after a day of deliberations at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, which has been administering the Award since its inception in 2002.

Abbas Akhavan's practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. The direction of his research has been deeply influenced by the specificity of the sites where he works: the architectures that house them, the economies that surround them, and the people that frequent them. The domestic sphere, as a forked space between hospitality and hostility, has been an ongoing area of research in Akhavan's practice. Recent works have shifted focus, wandering onto spaces and species just outside the home – the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes.

The curatorial panel shared the following statement: “The jury wanted to underline the generosity and empathy at play in Abbas’ work. Through a fugitive practice that resists fixed meaning, Akhavan reasserts that power and engagement are always relevant subjects for examination.”

The other four finalists will each receive a $10,000 prize, and their works, along with the winner’s, will remain on display in the Sobey Art Award Shortlist Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s Halifax location until January 3, 2016. The finalists included:
• West Coast and Yukon – Raymond Boisjoly
• Prairies and the North – Sarah Anne Johnson
• Québec – Jon Rafman
• Atlantic – Lisa Lipton

Created by the Sobey Art Foundation in 2002, the Sobey Art Award was formed to stimulate interest and fuel discussions and debate on the role of visual arts in Canadian society, and to shine a spotlight on the creative minds across this country whose energies are devoted to creating that art.

“We are here tonight to celebrate the finalists’ cutting-edge contributions to an ever-growing visual art scene in Canada. We hope that this Award serves as an ongoing reminder of the far-reaching benefits of showcasing today’s best and brightest in the visual arts,” said Rob G. Sobey, Chair of the Sobey Art Foundation. “Since its inception, the Sobey Art Award has aspired to bring forward a legacy of artistic excellence that makes our culture shine around the world.”

For more information on the Sobey Art Award, exhibition, longlisted and shortlisted artists, jury panel, as well as previous winners, please visit:
Sobey Art Foundation:

High-resolution images of the artists’ works are available by contacting Camille Dubois Crôteau ( for a link to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s FTP site.

- 30 -

Media contact
Bernard Doucet, Secretary of the Sobey Art Foundation
Tel.: (902) 921-1755