Divya Mehra Wins the 2022 Sobey Art Award

2022 Sobey Art Award winner Divya Mehra surrounded by, from left to right, Bernard Doucet, Executive Director, The Sobey Art Foundation; Jonathan Shaughnessy, Director, Curatorial Initiatives, National Gallery of Canada, and Chair of the jury; Rob Sobey, Chair, The Sobey Art Foundation; and Angela Cassie, Interim Director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada. Photo: NGC

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Divya Mehra wins the 2022 Sobey Art Award, Prestigious 100K Prize for Visual Artists in Canada

OTTAWA, Thursday, November 17, 2022 — The winner of the 2022 Sobey Art Award, one of the world’s most valuable prizes for Canadian visual artists, has been announced at a ceremony at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) last evening. Divya Mehra has won the $100,000 Canadian prize, with each of the four shortlisted artists — Krystle Silverfox, Azza El Siddique, Stanley Février and Tyshan Wright — receiving $25,000. The award is generously supported by the Sobey Art Foundation.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Sobey Art Foundation, I would like to congratulate Divya Mehra, this year’s winner along with all 25 long-listed artists who took part in the 2022 Sobey Art Award,” said Bernard Doucet, Executive Director, Sobey Art Foundation. “We are honoured to celebrate the work, careers and creativity of such a dynamic group of visual artists and hope this award helps connect creative visions to audiences across Canada and around the world.”

“We join our partner, the Sobey Art Foundation in celebrating Divya Mehra as the winner of the 2022 Sobey Art Award,” said Angela Cassie, Interim Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada. “We thank all of the incredible artists who created dynamic experiences and allowed for new ways of seeing ourselves and our diverse stories. I thank the jurors for their thoughtful deliberation and for bringing their expertise to this process.”

“The 2022 Sobey Art Award jury found Divya Mehra’s work resoundingly timely and sophisticated in addressing systems of cultural representation, production, and authority. Untethered to any specific medium, the impact of Mehra’s practice extends beyond established constructs of art. Her approach is defined by its sharp wit, disarmingly playful allure, and attentiveness to language and aesthetics. Her most recent explorations turn towards issues of repatriation, ownership, and modes of cultural consumption that fundamentally implicate both institutions and their publics,” stated Jonathan Shaughnessy, Director of Curatorial Initiatives, NGC and Chair of the 2022 Sobey Art Award jury.

“It truly feels surreal to be exhibiting at the National Gallery of Canada with four outstanding and inspiring cultural practitioners from across this country. It’s an honour to receive this award, and I am so grateful to have my practice recognized in this way,” said Divya Mehra.

Divya Mehra incorporates found artifacts and ready-made objects as active signifiers of resistance in a multitude of forms, including photo, video, film, sculpture, print, drawing, performance, installation and advertising. Her works serve as reminders of the difficult realities of displacement, loss, neutrality and oppression.

Recent projects include From India to Canada and back to India (There is nothing I can possess which you cannot take away) (2020), in which Mehra’s research for the exhibition led to the repatriation and institutional deaccession of a looted artifact from India. Mehra holds an MFA from Columbia University.

Representing the Prairies and North region, Divya Mehra, the 2022 Sobey Art Award winner, was chosen by a jury of experienced Canadian curators from coast to coast to coast alongside an international juror, who selected 25 artists for the long list—five from each designated region of Canada. Then, one artist from each region was selected for the shortlist, ensuring the breadth of contemporary practices from across the country were represented.

The 2022 Sobey Art Award jury is comprised of:

  • Rui Mateus Amaral, Adjunct Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto
  • John Hampton, Executive Director and CEO, Mackenzie Art Gallery
  • Elliott Ramsey, Curator, The Polygon Gallery
  • Laura Ritchie, Director, MSVU Art Gallery
  • Cheryl Sim, Managing Director and Curator, PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art
  • Franklin Sirmans, Director, Pérez Art Museum Miami

Artworks from all five 2022 Sobey Art Award shortlisted artists—including the winner—are currently featured in a dynamic exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada on view until March 12, 2023.

About the Sobey Art Award
Globally recognized as one of the world’s most generous privately funded prizes for contemporary visual artists, the Sobey Art Award is a catalyst that propels the careers of 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 long-listed artists.

A jury of experienced curators, including an international juror, select 25 artists from the submitted nominations—five from each designated region of Canada—for the long list. One artist from each region is then selected by the jury for the shortlist.

About the National Gallery of Canada
Ankosé — Everything is Connected — Tout est relié
The National Gallery of Canada is dedicated to amplifying voices through art and extending the reach and breadth of its collection, exhibitions program, and public activities to represent all Canadians, while centering Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Ankosé—an Anishinaabemowin word that means Everything is Connected—reflects the Gallery’s mission to create dynamic experiences that open hearts and minds, and allow for new ways of seeing ourselves, one another, and our diverse histories, through the visual arts. The NGC is home to a rich contemporary Indigenous international art collection, as well as important collections 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 more than a century. To find out more about the Gallery’s programming and activities visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. #Ankose #EverythingIsConnected #ToutEstRelié.

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 H. 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.

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Josée-Britanie Mallet
Senior Officer, Media and Public Relations
National Gallery of Canada
bmallet@gallery.ca

Denise Siele
Senior Communications Manager
National Gallery of Canada
dsiele@gallery.ca