2021 Sobey Art Award Call for nominations open, National Gallery of Canada exhibition returns and long-list awards increased



Media release
For immediate release

OTTAWA, January 27, 2021–Nominations are open for the 2021 Sobey Art Award, the most generous honour for contemporary Canadian visual artists aged 40 and under. Jointly administered by the Sobey Art Foundation (SAF) and the National Gallery of Canada (NGC), the Award celebrates the careers of emerging Canadian artists through financial support and recognition. Following modifications to last year’s Award structure in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SAF and the NGC are pleased to announce that the 2021 shortlisted artists will be presented at an exhibition at the NGC next fall.

“It’s an honour to chair the jury for this national award for the first time, and I look forward to discovering artists from coast – to coast – to coast through this experience,” said Sasha Suda, PHD, Director and CEO of the NGC.

“The Sobey Art Award is designed to seek out and promote the work of young artists across the country,” said Rob Sobey, Chair of the SAF. “Every year we work with jurors and artists to improve the Award’s structure and impact. In its twentieth year, we are pleased to announce that we are increasing the long-list prize to $10,000 to each of the twenty artists on the list, raising the overall award to $400,000. We look forward to seeing the return of the National Gallery’s exhibition this fall.”

The 2021 award structure will be:

  • $100,000 to the overall winner
  • $25,000 to each of the four other shortlisted finalists
  • $10,000 to each of the 20 long-listed finalists

The five shortlisted artists will be featured in an exhibition at the NGC during the fall of 2021. An independent jury consisting of curators from five regions (Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and the North, and the West Coast and Yukon), as well as an international juror, will oversee the selection process.

Nominations are open until Friday, March 5, 2021. The NGC will accept nominations for the Award from recognized agents, artists, and institutions. The NGC will notify the sender by e-mail upon receipt of a nomination package.

DEADLINE FOR NOMINATIONS: Friday, March 5, 2021, no later than 6 p.m. EST


2020 Sobey Art Award Nominations
c/o National Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Drive
P.O. Box 427, Station A,
Ottawa, ON
K1N 9N4


About the Sobey Art Foundation
The Sobey Art Foundation was established in 1981 with the mandate to carry on the work of entrepreneur and business leader, the late Frank H. Sobey, who was a dedicated collector of Canadian art. In 2002 the Sobey Art Award was founded and quickly became the preeminent award for contemporary Canadian visual art. Awarded annually to artists aged 40 and under, the award shines a spotlight on many of the most exciting emerging artists in the country.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the largest collection of contemporary Indigenous art in the world, as well as the most important collection of historical and contemporary Canadian and European Art from the 14th to 21st centuries. Founded 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 art for all Canadians. For more information, visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.


For media enquiries only:

Denise Siele
NGC Senior Communications Manager
dsiele@gallery.ca | (613) 298-1380