Montreal's Nadia Myre is the winner of the 2014 Sobey Art Award. Myre, 40, received the prestigious Canadian contemporary art prize, worth $50,000, at a ceremony Wednesday evening at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
A First Nations' multidisciplinary artist of Algonquin heritage, Myre prevailed over four other finalists to take the juried award, handed out annually to an artist 40 years or younger who has exhibited in a public or commercial gallery within 18 months of being nominated.
Myre had made the Sobey long-list three times previously, in 2011, 2012 and 2013. She is only the third female to win in the prize's history which was started in 2001 by the Sobey Art Foundation, as a biennial honour. The award became an annual affair in 2006.
In a statement, the five-member national jury lauded Myre for having "built a distinctive visual vocabulary by translating her experience and that of others into works employing traditional crafts with a contemporary, multidisciplinary practice. Her artwork creates a symbolic image of wounding and resilience that conveys something deeply human while addressing urgent social concerns."
Finalists were chosen in June from a long list of 25, announced in April and allocated on a regional basis. Each of the four runners-up received $5,000 Wednesday. They are Torontonain Chris Curreri, 36 (representing Ontario), Winnipeggers Michael Dumontier, 39, and Neil Farber, 38 (representing the prairies and northern Canada), Sackville's Graeme Patterson, 32 (representing Atlantic Canada), and Vancouver's Evan Lee, 39 (representing the West Coast).
An exhibition of works by Myre and the four runners-up continues at the Winnipeg Art Gallery through Jan. 11, 2015.