Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada usher in new era for the Sobey Art Award

The Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) announced today a new partnership in which the Gallery, starting in 2016, will become the organizing institution for the Sobey Art Award, Canada’s prestigious contemporary art prize. Building on the success achieved by the award’s founding partner institution, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the new partnership will chart an ambitious new global course for contemporary Canadian art.

“Since its inception in 2002, the Sobey Art Foundation has aspired to enhance the role of contemporary art in Canadian culture,” said the Chair of the Sobey Art Foundation, Rob Sobey. “We are tremendously grateful to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia for its efforts in highlighting and celebrating the best of Canadian contemporary art. For over thirteen years, our founding partner helped raise the award’s profile to achieve remarkable success. We look forward to working with the National Gallery of Canada to build on its significance and elevate contemporary Canadian art across the country and around the world,” he added.

“The Sobey Art Award has become the pinnacle of contemporary Canadian art,” said NGC Director and CEO, Marc Mayer. “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 Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is proud of its involvement and administration of the Sobey Art Award,” said Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and curator of the Sobey Art Award, Sarah Fillmore. “Since its inception in 2002, we have helped build and nurture Canada’s most influential award for contemporary artists aged 40 and under. The Sobey Art Award continues to capture the country and the world’s attention, and we share our excitement with the Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada as it moves towards a new era.”

The structure of the Award will remain intact with an annual long list, short list and juried selection from across the five regions of Canada. The presentation of works of art from short-listed artists will alternate between the National Gallery and institutions across the country. Next year’s jury and the annual call for nominations will be announced as usual, early in the new calendar year. Josée Drouin-Brisebois, NGC Senior Curator of Contemporary Art will assume the role of Jury Chair and will work with her team and partner institutions to assign curatorial responsibilities for the Sobey’s annual exhibition.

Since its launch, the Sobey Art Award has profiled 300 Canadian artists through its long-list process. For award recipients, the Sobey has become a mark of distinction that has steered the artists toward national and international recognition. Past award recipients include: Brian Jungen, Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Annie Pootoogook, Michel de Broin, Tim Lee, David Altmejd, Daniel Barrow, Daniel Young & Christian Giroux, Raphaëlle de Groot, Duane Linklater, and Nadia Myre. The 2015 Sobey Art Award winner was Abbas Akhavan and was announced on October 28.

About the Sobey Art Award The Sobey Art Award, Canada’s pre-eminent award for contemporary Canadian art, was created in 2002 by the Sobey Art Foundation. It is an annual prize given to an artist age 40 and under who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated. A total of $100,000 in prize money is awarded annually; $50,000 to the winner; $10,000 to the other four finalists; and $500 to each of the remaining longlisted artists. For information visit:

About the National Gallery of Canada The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit and and follow us on Twitter @gallerydotca.


For further information please contact:

Bernard Doucet, Sobey Art Foundation (902) 921-1755 or

Josée-Britanie Mallet Senior Media and Public Relations Officer National Gallery of Canada 613.990.6835 or