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Four local contenders vye for Canada's largest art prize for young artists

The shortlist for the $100K Sobey Art Award will be announced next month
April 25, 2018
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Plugs (detail), by Adam Basanta, 2016. | Image courtesy of the artist

Four Concordia artists have a shot at winning the largest prize in Canada for young artists.

The Sobey Art Award is given annually to a Canadian aged 40 or under who has exhibited their work in a public of commercial art gallery in the previous 18 months. This year’s overall winner will receive $100,000, up from $50,000 in previous years.

Adam Basanta (MA 13), Julie Favreau (MFA 12), Jerry Ropson (MFA 09) and Elif Saydam (BFA 09) made the 2018 longlist, along with 21 other artists from across the country.

Since 2002, 40 Concordia students, visiting artists and alumni have been longlisted for the award. Of those, five have gone on to win the prize: Nadia Myre (MFA 03), Abbas Akhavan (BFA 04), Raphaëlle de Groot, Daniel Barrow and Michel de Broin.

The shortlist will be announced May 29. The selected artists will be exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada from October 3, 2018, to February 10, 2019. The winner of the 2018 Sobey Art Award will be announced during a gala event at the gallery November 14.

The artists on the longlist will receive $2,000 in prize money. Those selected for the short list will be awarded $25,000.

From immersive sound art to iconoclastic representations of flags, each of this year’s nominees from Concordia brings a unique perspective to contemporary art making.

Vessel, by Adam Basanta, 2015. | Courtesy of the artist Vessel, by Adam Basanta, 2015. | Courtesy of the artist

Adam Basanta

Adam Basanta is a sound artist and composer who graduated from Concordia’s Individualized Program. His art practice incorporates elements of sculpture and technology into large-scale installations.

In 2016, Basanta’s artwork Curtain (white) had visitors surrounded by white noise as they made their way to a “curtain” made of dozens of earbuds. The installation measured three metres in length.

Basanta’s upcoming composition work includes a commissioned piece for Montreal’s Quator Bozzini String Quartet as part of the Composer’s Kitchen Residency. The work will be performed in both Montreal and Utrecht, Netherlands.

Frise (from the She Century series), by Julie Favreau, 2015. Edinburgh Art Festival, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. | Courtesy of the artist Frise (from the She Century series), by Julie Favreau, 2015. | Courtesy of the artist

Julie Favreau

Montreal-based artist Julie Favreau works in a variety of media, including installation, photography and performance. Her projects emphasize themes of eroticism and desire.

Favreau, who studied in the Department of Studio Arts, is currently headlining two international solo exhibitions. From Her Character is showing at La BF15 in Lyon, France, and Will Deliquesce will open April 27 at House of Egorn in Berlin, Germany.

Lepus Americanus Struthopus (dead rabbit II), by Jerry Ropson, 2017. | Collection of The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery Lepus Americanus Struthopus (dead rabbit II), by Jerry Ropson, 2017. | Courtesy of the artist

Jerry Ropson

Newfoundland-born artist Jerry Ropson was also nominated for the Sobey Art Award in 2016. He works in a variety of media, creating installations that emphasize storytelling and personal experience.

In 2017, his exhibition, the distance between our outreached arms (deadflag), was featured at Concordia’s FOFA Gallery. Ropson, who also earned his degree from the Department of Studio Arts, is a professor of painting and drawing at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick.

Der Eremit (series from the exhibition Matador), by Elif Saydam, 2016. | Photo: Annette Kradisch Der Eremit (series from the exhibition Matador), by Elif Saydam, 2016. | Photo: Annette Kradisch

Elif Saydam

Elif Saydam is a Turkish-Canadian artist whose multimedia practice includes installation and painting. In September 2017, Saydam’s exhibition, NO R.E.M., was featured at the Ashley Gallery in Berlin, Germany.

She is a graduate of Concordia’s Fibres and Material Practices program.


Find out more about Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts.



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