By Dorota Kozinska

Created in 2002 by the Sobey Art Foundation, the Sobey Art Award is Canada's pre-eminent award for contemporary Canadian art.
It is an annual prize given to an artist age 40 and under, who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated.

A total of $100,000 in prize money is awarded; $50,000 to the winner; $10,000 to the other four finalists; and $500 to each of the remaining long-listed artists.

For the first time this year, an international juror joined the Award selection committee. “It is a fact that increasing globalization and its effects are the main issues for all artists today, a fact that becomes more blatant every day.” said Nicolaus Schafhausen, Artistic Director at the Kunsthalle, in Vienna, Austria.

Hajra Waheed holds an MA from McGill University in Montreal, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Il.

Born in Calgary in 1980, she spent her youth in the Persian Gulf, an experience that finds its echo in her complex production.

 
She works in mixed media, addressing issues both personal and universal, concerns of "identity formation in relation to political history, popular imagination and the broad impact of colonial power within a global context."
Waheed has exhibited extensively, in Canada and abroad. In 2014, she received the prestigious Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for outstanding achievement as a Canadian mid-career visual artist.

Waheed’s works can be found in a number of permanent collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The British Museum, London; The Burger Collection, Zurich/Hong Kong and The Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi. She lives and works in Montreal.

As is the tradition, the five short-listed artists’ work will be featured in a special exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, from October 6, 2016, to February 5, 2017. The winner will be announced in November 2016.

For more information about the short-listed artists and the jurors:  The Sobey Art Award at the National Gallery(lien externe)

The Cyphers 1–18, 2016
mixed media installation (found objects, cut photograph, Xylene transfer, glass, ink, printed Mylar and archival tape on paper), 28 × 43 cm each
Installation View at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
Courtesy of the artist
Photo: Colin Davison
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Our Naufrage 1–10, 2014
gouache on Masonite, mounted in brass and wood, 14 × 17 cm each
Courtesy of the artist
Photo: Vipul Sangoi
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Asylum in the Sea 9/24, 2015
gouache, graphite, cut-photograph & Dry transfer on Masonite embedded in wood, 11.4 × 14 cm each
Installation view at Darling Foundry, Montreal
Private collection
Courtesy of the artist
Photo: Maxime Boisvert
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Untitled (MAP), 2016
infographic print on vellum, 416.6 × 62.5 cm
Installation view at Mosaic Rooms, London
Photo: Courtesy of the artist
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Hajra Waheed
Sobey Art Award Finalist
(Artist photo by Nick Bostick)
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