Sobey Art Award launches major international residencies program


The Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada are delighted to announce the launch of the Sobey Art Award Residencies Program (SAARP), eligible to artists longlisted for the Sobey Art Award. Working with established international artists’ residencies, this annual program will help propel the artists to the next phase of their careers by providing them time, space and facilities to create new work or conduct research for future projects. It will also introduce them to new communities, bringing them into dialogue with other cultures, places, and ways of thinking and making. In addition to helping young artists, the Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada designed the program to raise the profile of contemporary Canadian art around the world.

“The Sobey Art Foundation is thrilled to work with the National Gallery to establish new ways to recognize and bolster the careers of Canadian artists through the Sobey Art Award program,” said Rob Sobey, Chair of the Sobey Art Foundation. “I am personally excited at the potential these residencies have to shine a light on our country’s leading young artists.”

The Sobey Art Foundation, the funder of the new residencies program, wanted to offer a diversity of locations, experiences, formats and durations to accommodate the different needs of each artist selected for the residencies. The National Gallery of Canada conducted extensive research into various residency models and programs worldwide, soliciting advice and input from artists, critics, curators and residency coordinators. The three internationally-recognized organizations hosting the SAARP winners for the next two years will be the Delfina Foundation, London, England, the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in Brooklyn, USA, and the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany.

“Contemporary artists are increasingly working in performative, collaborative, experimental, and research-based approaches,” said Marc Mayer, Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada. “These residency partners all have a reputation for comprehensive support and hospitality, as well as proven experience in supporting contemporary art. Our team at the Gallery is delighted to work with the Sobey Art Foundation to promote Canadian artistic talent internationally.”

Three artists from the Sobey Art Award longlist will be selected each year by the Sobey Art Award Jury to participate in the residencies, which range in length from three to six months. The total annual value of the program is approximately $75,000 CAD, which includes funds for travel, living expenses, and materials.

The inaugural 2018 winners of SAARP are:

Lou Sheppard, who will participate in a three-month residency at the ISCP in Brooklyn, New York, is of settler ancestry, was raised on unceded Mi’Kmaq territory and currently lives and works in K’jiputuk (Halifax). Working in video, audio and installation practices, Sheppard’s work has been exhibited in Canada and internationally and was included in the Antarctic Biennale and the Antarctic Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennial. Their current project, a choreographic translation of the diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria, is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Life of a Craphead, who will participate in a three-month residency at the Delfina Foundation in London, England, is the collaboration of Amy Lam and Jon McCurley. Their work spans performance art, film and curation. The name Life of a Craphead comes from the opening joke of the very first live comedy routine they performed together in 2006. Their most recent body of work deals with experiences and representations of Western imperialism in Asia. Life of a Craphead has exhibited across Canada and the U.S. The artists live and work in Toronto.

Krista Belle Stewart, who will participate in a six-month residency and exhibition at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany, works with video, land, photography, performance,  textiles and sound, drawing out personal and political narratives inherent in archival materials while questioning their articulation in institutional histories. Stewart is a member of the Syilx Nation and is currently based on unceded Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Skwxwú7mesh territories (Vancouver). Her work has been exhibited in Canada and internationally.

The artists were selected by the 2018 Sobey Art Award jury, chaired by Josée Drouin-Brisebois, and includes Heather Igloliorte, Concordia University Research Chair in Indigenous Art History; Jean-François Bélisle, Executive Director, Musée d’art de Joliette; November Paynter, Director of Programs, Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada; Kristy Trinier, Executive Director at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery; Melanie O’Brian, Director, Simon Fraser University Galleries; and international juror, Séamus Kealy, Director, Salzburger Kunstverein.

The Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada will announce next year’s Sobey ArtAward Residencies Program’s recipients in summer 2019.


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Betty Tűndik
Betty Tűndik
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