June 18, 2012

Eleanor King (BFA 2001) jumped up and down and cried when she got the news: she made the final cut for the 2012 Sobey Art Award, the preeminent award for contemporary Canadian art.  

“I'm just thrilled to be recognized by the curatorial panel and was honored to have even made it to the long list!” writes Eleanor, from an Internet kiosk in Australia. “I am really looking forward to exposing my work to a broader audience. Now I just need to figure out what to exhibit.”

Eleanor, the acting director of NSCAD’s Anna Leonowens Gallery and an instructor in the Media Arts department, is the artist representing the Atlantic region. Also on the shortlist are: Gareth Moore – West Coast and the Yukon; Jason de Haan, Prairies and the North; Derek Sullivan – Ontario; and Raphaëlle de Groot – Quebec.

Last year’s winners were the artistic team of Daniel Young and Christian Giroux (MFA 1995) representing Ontario.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2012, the Sobey Art Award comes with $70,000 in prize money, with $50,000 going to the winner and $5,000 awarded to each of the other finalists. The Sobey Art Award is awarded to a Canadian artist age 40 and under who has exhibited in a public or commercial gallery within 18 months of being nominated.

Work by the shortlisted artists will be shown in an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) in Toronto, opening on October 24. The winner will be announced at a gala event at the MOCCA on November 16.

Eleanor says the prestige of the Sobey Art Award and the recognition that comes with it has motivated her in her own career.  An installation and performance artist who is inspired by everyday life, her work has been featured at Nuit Blanche (Toronto), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Eastern Edge Gallery (Newfoundland & Labrador) and Galleri F15 (Norway).

“I have followed the Sobey Art Award closely since its inception,” she writes. “As it has grown, it has become a widely recognized award, and it does what it set out to do--which is to foster conversation about Canadian contemporary art on a national and international scale.” 

The 2012 Sobey Art Award Curatorial Panel consists of: David Diviney, Curator of Exhibitions, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; Louise Déry, Directrice Galerie de l'UQAM, Université du Québec à Montréal; David Liss, Artistic Director and Curator, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art;  Ryan Doherty, Curator, Southern Alberta Art Gallery; and Bruce Grenville, Senior Curator, Vancouver Art Gallery.

Eleanor King, Obso-les-sense, mixed installation, dimensions variable, 2009. (Steve Farmer Photo)