Iqaluit artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory in the running for Sobey Art Award

This year, all 25 longlisted artists will take home $10,000

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory is pictured here in a Greenlandic mask in an image from the 2017 film Timiga, Nunalu Sikulu (My body, the land and the ice). (Photo by Jamie Griffiths)

By Nunatsiaq News

Iqaluit artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory has made the longlist of nominees for the 2021 Sobey Art Award.

The award is handed out each year by the Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada to honour up-and-coming contemporary Canadian artists.

Williamson Bathory is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Iqaluit, well-known for her practice of Greenlandic mask dance, or uaajeerneq. As a founding member and artistic director of Nunavut’s Qaggiavuut! Society, she is also involved in theatre, drum-dancing, music and curating.

Each year, a jury made up of arts professionals selects a list of 25 artists spanning each region of the country: West Coast, Yukon, Prairies, North, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic. One artist from each region is named to the five-member shortlist and their works are presented in an exhibition of finalists.

Typically awarded to artists aged under the age of 40, this is the first year the Sobey award is open to artists of any age.

The 2021 Sobey Art Award winner will receive the $100,000 top prize and the four finalists will receive $25,000 each.

And new this year, longlisted artists will be awarded $10,000 each.

Sobey Art Foundation chairman Rob Sobey said in a news release that the award is designed “to stimulate interest, discussion and debate regarding contemporary Canadian art and to shine a spotlight on the creative minds across this country whose energies and passions are devoted to creating that art.”

Three other circumpolar artists were also long-listed aside Williamson Bathory: Montreal-based Inuk artist Glenn Gear, Inuvialuk artist Maureen Gruben and Alaskan artist Tanya Lukin Linklater.

The Sobey Art Award, now in its 20th year, is named after the late Canadian businessperson, art collector and philanthropist Frank H. Sobey.

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