Stephanie Comilang wins 2019 Sobey Art Award

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Photo Credit: Leory Schulz

  • The 39-year-old artist, representing the Ontario region, has been awarded Canada’s most prestigious contemporary art prize worth $100,000 CAD
  • The 2019 Sobey Art Award exhibition, featuring more than 35 works by the winner and four shortlisted artists, is on view at the Art Gallery of Alberta until Sunday, January 5, 2020 

“Representation is everything. Can we see ourselves in the wider world? Winning the Sobey Art Award and representing a demographic that looks like me hopefully lets others know the limitless possibilities of who you can be as an artist,” said Stephanie Comilang.

OTTAWA, November 15, 2019 - The Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada are delighted to announce that Stephanie Comilang is the recipient of the 2019 Sobey Art Award. The 2019 Sobey Art Award grand prize winner was revealed Friday evening at a ceremony at the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton. Each of the four remaining shortlisted artists, Nicolas Grenier, Kablusiak, Anne Low and D’Arcy Wilson, were awarded $25,000 CAD.

The Sobey Art Award recognizes Canadian artists who are forty years old or younger, selected by a jury of Canadian and international curators and gallery directors. The award represents the breadth of contemporary practices from Canada’s five geographical regions, selecting a shortlist that engages with a variety of ideas and approaches. The 2019 jury, chaired by National Gallery of Canada’s Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Josée Drouin-Brisebois, is composed of Peter Dykhuis, Director/Curator, Dalhousie Art Gallery, for the Atlantic Provinces; Jo-Ann Kane, Curator, National Bank Collection, for the Quebec region; Swapnaa Tamhane, Independent Curator, Artist, and Writer, for the Ontario region; Lindsey Sharman, Curator, Art Gallery of Alberta, for the Prairies and the North region; Nigel Prince, Executive Director, Contemporary Art Gallery, for the West Coast and Yukon; and international juror, Henriette Bretton-Meyer, Curator, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark.


“Through what she calls science-fiction documentaries, Stephanie Comilang speaks to how the world is increasingly experienced through technology. By using the point of view of a drone - the ancient sentient being Paraiso who acts as both recorder and protagonist - the artist shows how communities, made up of mainly migrant women, carve out space in locations that are never really home. The jury was impressed by her ambitious practice which engages in a complex manner with what has been lost through colonization.”  – 2019 Sobey Art Award Jury

“On behalf of the Sobey Art Foundation, I am delighted to congratulate Stephanie Comilang on winning the 2019 Sobey Art Award. Our first time exhibiting the SAA in Alberta has been an extraordinary and overwhelming success and we’re thrilled that all of this year’s shortlisted artists have been able to showcase their practices here.”  Rob Sobey, Chair of the Sobey Art Foundation

“The Art Gallery of Alberta sincerely congratulates the 2019 Sobey Art Award winner on this momentous occasion. We are extremely proud to be the 2019 host of the prestigious Sobey Art Award exhibition, which represents such a diverse and amazing group of young Canadian artists. With the winner now being announced, we hope everyone comes to see the exhibition to experience the work of these five most impressive artists.”  – Catherine Crowston, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Alberta

About the 2019 shortlisted artists and their work

  • From the Ontario region: Stephanie Comilang’s video works follow Paraiso, a Tagalog speaking “drone” who documents Filipino diasporic experiences.
  • From the Quebec region: Nicolas Grenier uses painting and the coding of colour to investigate political, economic, cultural and social spaces.
  • From the Prairies and North region: Kablusiak uses humour to cope with their cultural displacement and is creating a methodology for inventing cultural connections from an urban perspective.
  • From the West Coast and Yukon region: Anne Low uses sculpture, installation, textiles and printmaking to investigate how forms can detach from their historical context to speak to contemporary notions of the domestic and the decorative.
  • From the Atlantic region: D’Arcy Wilson’s art examines a colonial relationship to the natural world from her perspective as a descendant of European settlers.

The 2019 Sobey Art Award exhibition will be on view until Sunday, January 5, 2020. Organized by Lindsey Sharman, Curator of the Art Gallery of Alberta, it presents more than 35 works by the five shortlisted artists, in a range of media - from video-based installations and audience participation to paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs.

Past Sobey Art Award grand prize 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 was the recipient of the 2018 Sobey Art Award.

Further information and updates about the 2019 artists, jurors, the Sobey Art Award exhibition, and the Sobey Art Award Residency Program can be found at, as well as by following @PrixSobeyAward. The full list of activities during the exhibition can be found at and

Useful links

Social media


A selection of images and digital assets (photos and videos of the winner and gala evening, artists and artwork, installation images, and clips of the exhibition) are available upon request.


For all media inquiries, please contact: 

Sobey Art Foundation

Bernard Doucet

T + 902.752-8371 ext. 2301

C + 902-921-1755

Art Gallery of Alberta

Kerrie Sanderson

Edmonton + Calgary

T + 780-392-2469

National Gallery of Canada

Geneviève Ménard

Media Relations Manager

T + 613-990-1654

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