Inuvialuk artist Kablusiak has been longlisted for the 2023 Sobey Art Award in the Prairies/North category and will receive $10,000 along with 24 other longlisted artists from across Canada. This is Kablusiak’s second time on the Sobey Art Award longlist; they were shortlisted for the award in 2019.
Kablusiak Heart Paddle (2022) Dyed sealskin, leather and artificial sinew 30.5 × 17.8 × 6.4 cmPHOTO PHILIP KANWISCHER COURTESY NORBERG HALL © THE ARTIST
Kablusiak is a multidisciplinary Inuvialuk artist and curator based in Calgary, AB, whose work often uses humour to examine the impact of colonization, Inuit expressions of gender and sexuality, and to demystify Inuit art by creating space for Inuit-led representation. In addition to the Sobey award, Kablusiak is currently longlisted for the 2023 Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award, which they were shortlisted for in 2021. In 2022, Kablusiak’s work appeared on the cover of the Inuit Art Quarterly’s Spring 2022 issue as well as on a 10-ft mural at OCAD’s Onsite Gallery in Toronto, ON, and as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in Scarborough, ON, where they won the 2022 Gattuso Prize.
Kablusiak Mural at Onsite GalleryCOURTESY ONSITE GALLERY
Previous Inuit artists on the longlist and shortlist include Mauren Gruben, Glenn Gear, Laakkuluk Willamson Bathory and Tanya Lukin Linklater in 2021, with Willamson Bathory going on to win the grand prize that same year in the Prairies/North category. Mark Igloliorte was longlisted in 2012, and Couzyn van Heuvelen also made the longlist in 2018. In a monumental year for the award, and during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 longlist included asinnajaq, who was the first Nunavimmiut artist to make the list. That year, the award was split between all the longlisted artists with each receiving $25,000. Prior to Williamson Bathory’s win in 2021 only one Inuk artist had ever won the award—Annie Pootoogook (1969–2016) in 2006.
The Sobey Art Award “brings well-deserved national and international recognition to many of this country’s most thoughtful and innovative artistic voices," said Jonathan Shaughnessy, Director of Curatorial Initiatives at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) and the 2023 Jury Chair.
The five shortlisted artists, who will be announced on June 7, will each receive $25,000 and will have their work appear in an exhibition at the NGC in Ottawa, ON, in the fall. The winner—announced on November 18 at the NGC—will receive $100,000, bringing the total prize money awarded to artists to $400,000.