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Four Inuit Artists Longlisted for the 2024 Sobey Art Award

May 01, 2024
by IAQ

On April 30 the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) and Sobey Art Foundation named five circumpolar artists in Canada among the 30 longlisted artists for the 2024 Sobey Art Award. Each longlisted artist will receive $10,000 and be considered for the shortlist. This year, the NGC added a sixth region to the nomination process, Circumpolar. This includes artists from Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut. This increases representation across Canada and ensures that circumpolar artists continue to be recognized for their artistic work, and this addition comes on the heels of Inuvialuk artist Kablusiak winning the 2023 Sobey Art Award. 

The longlisted visual artists in the Circumpolar category are Inuit artists Eldred Allen, Taqralik Partridge, Jason Sikoak and Jessica Winters, and Dene artist Casey Koyczan. 

Allen is a photographer from Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, NL, who is known for his stunning landscape and wildlife photos. He uses handheld cameras, drones and 3D modelling to capture these landscapes. Allen’s work has been featured in Nunatsiavut: Our Beautiful Land in 2019 at La Guilde in Montreal, QC, and INUA from 2021–2023 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq in Manitoba. Also in 2021, Allen was shortlisted for the Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award.

Originally from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, QC, and currently based in Ottawa, ON, Partridge is a writer, curator and spoken word poet who focuses her artistic practice on celebrating Inuit life in the North and South. She has held many curatorial positions at various institutions in Canada, and this year she opened her solo exhibition, Taqralik Partridge: ᐳᓛᖃᑎᒌᑦ (Pulaaqatigiit), at Onsite Gallery in Toronto, ON. Her work is featured within the nationally touring beadwork exhibition Radical Stitch that will open at the NGC this month.

Born in Rigolet and currently based in Montreal, QC, Sikoak is a mixed-media artist who works with pen-and-ink drawing, rug tufting and linoleum-cut printmaking. Their work often features themes of spiritualism, colonialism, environmental issues and politics, focusing on interpretations of Inuit life and spirituality. Sikoak’s work has been featured in several exhibitions, including the 2016–2020 travelling exhibition SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut, and they have designed two coins for the Royal Canadian Mint. 

Winters is a painter, printmaker and curator who was raised in Makkovik, Nunatsiavut, NL, and attributes her artistic practice to her family, which includes many textile and visual artists. Winters’ work is influenced by her studies in biology and focuses on scenes of Inuit life in Nunatsiavut. In 2019 she curated Billy Gauthier: Beyond Bone and exhibited her own work in Nunatsiavut: Our Beautiful Land. This year her work has been exhibited at Onsite Gallery in Toronto as part of the Up Front: Inuit Public Art series, presented in partnership with the Inuit Art Foundation. 

Dene interdisciplinary artist Koyczan, originally from Yellowknife, NT, focuses on creating art that highlights the connection between culture and technology. He uses a variety of tools to bring his art to life, though he specializes in sculpture, installation, 3D, virtual and augmented reality, 360 audio and video. Koyczan has participated in many group and solo exhibitions, including Ełexiìtǫ ; Ehts’ǫǫ̀ / Connected ; Apart From Each Other in 2022 at InterAccess Gallery in Toronto, and Indigenous Futures: Rooted and Ascending in 2021 at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Museum in Yellowknife.

The six shortlisted artists and names of the jury members will be announced on June 11, 2024. Each of the shortlisted artists will receive $25,000 and will have their work featured in a special exhibition at the NGC on view from October 4, 2024, to March 16, 2025. The winner—announced on November 9 at the NGC—will receive $100,000, bringing the total prize money awarded to artists to $465,000, making it the biggest art award in Canada. 


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