2021 Sobey Art Award Exhibition at National Gallery of Canada



For Immediate Release


OTTAWA, Wednesday, October 6, 2021—Inspiring new works from five of Canada’s leading emerging visual artists promise to energize and challenge visitors to the National Gallery of Canada starting on October 8, 2021 in the 2021 Sobey Art Award exhibition, on view until February 20, 2022.

The Sobey Art Award exhibition is the first chance for contemporary art-lovers to get an up-close viewing of artworks created by the five shortlisted artists of the 2021 Sobey Art Award—with some works having been created or re-imagined over the summer just in time for the October opening.

Together, the five artists featured— Gabi Doa, (West Coast and Yukon), Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory (Prairies and North), Rajni Perera (Ontario), Lorna Bauer (Quebec), and Rémi Belliveau (Atlantic) — represent every region across Canada. Their combined work spans a dynamic range of artistic mediums— photography, sculpture, performance, painting, and video installations.

“In their works, the artists explore ideas and prescient issues ranging from climate change and sustainability, the global refugee crisis and shared cultural memories. They also share their visions for possible and imagined futures. I am honoured to be a part of this innovative exhibition of such talented emerging Canadian artists.” said Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Canada.

“I want to personally congratulate these five inspiring artists shortlisted for the 2021 Sobey Art Award,” said Rob Sobey, Chair, Sobey Art Foundation. “For 20 years the Sobey Art Foundation has been proud to support Canadian visual artists through this award, and we are excited to celebrate their exceptional work at the National Gallery of Canada. The breadth of contemporary practices from across the country are well represented.”

“These five shortlisted artists come from every region in Canada and the strength and future of contemporary art,” said Dr. Sasha Suda, Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada. “We’re honoured and excited to connect Canadians to these brilliant artists and to celebrate their work in this dynamic in-person exhibition at the Gallery.”

Globally recognized as one of the world’s most generous privately funded prizes for contemporary visual artists, the Sobey Art Award celebrates the careers of emerging Canadian artists of all ages through financial support, an exhibition highlighting the practices of the five shortlisted artists, as well as national and international recognition.

Presented annually, the Sobey Art Award provides significant financial recognition and The $400,000 prize money is divided among the 25 nominated artists: $100,000 for the winner, $25,000 for the four shortlisted finalists, and $10,000 each for the longlisted artists.

This year the Sobey Art Award opened the competition to emerging artists of all ages across Canada and received a record number of nominations. A jury of experienced curators, including two international jurors, selected 25 artists from the submitted nominations – five from each designated region of Canada – for the longlist. One artist from each region was then selected by the jury for the shortlist.

The winner of the Sobey Art Award will be announced at a gala hosted at the National Gallery of Canada on November 6, 2021. The 2021 Sobey Art Award exhibition the Gallery is presented with the support of the Sobey Art Foundation.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the largest contemporary Indigenous art collection 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.

To find out more about the Gallery’s programming and activities, visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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 investment quality Canadian art. The Sobey Art Foundation continues the work begun by Frank Sobey, preserving representative examples of 19th and 20th century Canadian art. The Sobey Art Award, started by the Foundation, ran in 2002, 2004, 2006 before becoming annual in 2007.


For media inquiries only, please contact:

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

Denise Siele
Senior Manager, Communications
National Gallery of Canada

Bernard Doucet
Executive Director
The Sobey Art Foundation