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Art & Architecture Sobey Art Award 2019 finalists represent the best of Canada’s visual art

A Toronto artist showing in Berlin, a Montrealer working in Los Angeles and an Inuvialuk artist based in Calgary are among this year’s finalists for the $100,000 Sobey Art Award.

The leading visual-art prize for younger artists, the award recognizing Canadian artists 40 and under from five regional categories, will be announced in November.

From Ontario, the short list released Wednesday includes Stephanie Comilang, a Filpina-Canadian artist who makes documentary films about labour, wealth and global mobility, dividing her career between Toronto and Berlin. Quebec is represented by Nicolas Grenier, who works in Montreal and Los Angeles creating architectural and sculptural installations that critique economic, political and social systems. For the Prairies and the North, Calgary artist Kablusiak, an Inuvialuk from the Western Arctic, uses humour in work about cultural displacement, for example, making soapstone carvings of consumer items such as cigarettes or razors.

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From the West Coast and the Yukon, the short list also includes Vancouver artist Anne Low who creates sculptural installations using textiles and printmaking to examine how everyday objects such as chairs or curtains can be removed from their historical context to function as art. Halifax artist D’Arcy Wilson has been selected from Atlantic Canada; she is currently an assistant professor at Memorial University in Corner Brook, Nfld., and addresses the colonial relationship with the natural world through installations and performances.

An exhibition of the five finalists’ work will be held at the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton from Oct. 5 to Jan. 5, 2020. The $100,000 top prize will be announced at the gallery Nov. 15, while the four other finalists receive $25,000 each.

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