October 26, 2017 - National Gallery of Canada - Ursula Johnson wins 2017 Sobey Art Award
October 26, 2017

National Gallery of Canada

Ursula Johnson. Photo: Rita Taylor. Courtesy of Banff Centre for the arts.

Ursula Johnson wins 2017 Sobey Art Award
October 26, 2017


Ursula Johnson wins 2017 Sobey Art Award
October 26, 2017


The jury for the 2017 Sobey Art Award announced Ursula Johnson as the winner of Canada’s 50,000 CAD prestigious contemporary art prize. She is the fourteenth Canadian artist under 40 to win the distinguished annual award.

The announcement was made during a gala event held Wednesday evening at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. The award was presented to Johnson, who represents the Atlantic region, by last year’s winner, Jeremy Shaw (West Coast and Yukon).

On receiving the award, Johnson said:

"I am so grateful for winning this award! I have so much gratitude to have been selected to represent my region and to be in the company of such brilliant artists who are working in amazing ways! This gift of being the winner of the Sobey Art Award means that I will now have the tremendous opportunity to work on a larger scale and expand the reach of my work to a broader community while exploring more diversity in materials and content as well as beginning to create a network of collaborators internationally!"

Ursula Johnson is among five finalists, selected from a long list of 25 artists, to present her work in the 2017 Sobey Art Award exhibition on view at the Art Museum of the University of Toronto from October 24 to December 9, 2017. For the first time in the history of the Sobey Art Award, women and indigenous artists dominated the shortlist. The selection committee, chaired by Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Canada, issued the following statement on Johnson’s remarkable achievement:

“Ursula Johnson was singled out ‎for her strong voice, her generosity and collaborative spirit. Through her work, she redefines traditional materials and re-imagines colonized histories.”

A total of 110,000 CAD in prize money from the Sobey Art Foundation is awarded to artists annually—50,000 CAD to the winner, 10,000 CAD for each of the four finalists, and 1,000 CAD for each of the longlisted artists.

The five 2017 Sobey Art Award finalists are: Raymond Boisjoly (West Coast and the Yukon); Jacynthe Carrier (Québec); Ursula Johnson (Atlantic); Divya Mehra (Prairies and the North); and Bridget Moser (Ontario). A list of the 2017 Sobey Art Award longlisted artists can be accessed here.

Rob Sobey, Chair of the Sobey Art Foundation which funds the award, noted:

“On behalf of the Sobey Art Foundation, I would like to personally congratulate Ursula Johnson on winning the 2017 Award. Every year we are very proud to be able to shine a light on the work of all of the long-listed and short-listed Canadian artists. I want to thank and congratulate every one of them for their enduring contributions to our national culture.”

The first Sobey Art Award was presented in 2002. Since then, it has highlighted the work of more than 350 artists, with winners such as Abbas Akhavan, David Altmejd, Daniel Barrow, Michel de Broin, Raphaëlle de Groot, Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Tim Lee, Duane Linklater, Nadia Myre, Annie Pootoogook, Jeremy Shaw and Daniel Young & Christian Giroux.

For more information about the Sobey Art Award, visit: gallery.ca/sobey.
For more information about Sobey Art Foundation, visit:  sobeyartfoundation.com
For more information about the National Gallery of Canada, visit: gallery.ca

For all media enquiries please contact:

Josée-Britanie Mallet, National Gallery of Canada
T +1 613 355 3989 / bmallet [​at​] gallery.ca

Bernard Doucet, Sobey Art Foundation
T +1 902 921 1755 / bernard.doucet [​at​] sobeys.com

National Gallery of Canada
Share - Ursula Johnson wins 2017 Sobey Art Award
  • Share