Sobey Art Award: Canadian art landscape

Sobey Art Award exhibition featuring shortlisted nominees presented at the WAG

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Since Nov. 1, 2014, the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) has been hosting an exhibition of the nominees of the Sobey Art Award. Presenting the shortlisted artists for the award, the show will run until Jan. 25 and is the first time the exhibition has been held in Western Canada.

The Sobey Art Award was first created in 2002 as a prize for aspiring Canadian artists aged 40 and under. The award, which was created by the Sobey Art Foundation, annually gives $50,000 to an individual who has “exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated.”

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia administers the Sobey Art Award and exhibition. On Nov. 19, Nadia Myre was announced as the competition winner.

“Myre has built a distinctive visual vocabulary by translating her experience and that of others into works that employ traditional crafts within a contemporary, multidisciplinary practice,” said the Sobey Art Award jury in a press release.

“Her artwork creates a symbolic image of wounding and resilience that conveys something deeply human while addressing urgent social concerns.”

Born in 1974, Nadia Myre is a visual artist from Quebec. Myre is an Algonquin member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg First Nation and has had her work featured in exhibitions around the world, including in New York, Nancy, and Montreal. Many of Myre’s pieces draw on themes of “identity, language, longing, and loss.”

One such piece at the WAG is Myre’s “Scar Project,” an ongoing project by the artist that invites viewers to sew with fibres and threads to create “a canvas representation of a physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual scar they may have.” With the scars being taken from places such as youth groups, senior centres, and prisons, Myre has accumulated over 800 scars for exhibition across Canada and the United States.

Another of Myre’s notable pieces is “Hydro Quebec,”from her series Journey of the SeventhFire. The piece displays a large letter Q, the logo of Hydro-Quebec. The piece and the series are meant to bring attention to industrial companies causing environmental damage.

“This series, [Journey of the Seventh Fire], borrows ideas from the Seven Fires Prophesy Wampum Belt, which speaks about the destruction of the earth if we do not shift from materialism to spirituality,” explained Myre.

Along with Myre’s pieces, the exhibit features the works of four other artists nominated for the prize, with each artist representing different areas of Canada.

Pieces by Evan Lee (West Coast and the Yukon), Chris Curreri (Ontario), Graeme Patterson (Atlantic), and Neil Farber and Michael Dumontier (Prairies and the North) are featured within the exhibit. With Myre representing Quebec, the WAG exhibit presents a strong depiction of the current and future Canadian art landscape.

The Sobey Art Award exhibit runs until Jan. 25, 2015. For more information visit wag.ca