November 16, 2018 - National Gallery of Canada - Kapwani Kiwanga wins 2018 Sobey Art Award
November 16, 2018

National Gallery of Canada

Kapwani Kiwanga. Courtesy of National Gallery of Canada. Photo: miv photography.

Kapwani Kiwanga wins 2018 Sobey Art Award

Sobey Art Awards 2018: November 14, 7–9pm

National Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Dr
Ottawa ON K1N 9N4
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Kapwani Kiwanga, representing the Ontario region, is the winner of the 2018 Sobey Art Award, confirming her position as a rising star in the Canadian contemporary art scene. The award was announced at the annual Sobey Art Award gala held Wednesday evening at the National Gallery of Canada. Upon receiving the award from Ursula Johnson, last year’s winner, Kapwani Kiwanga said:

“The Sobey Art Award is a humbling encouragement to continue to make work that asks us to look anew at society and its past while allowing us to imagine unbounded possibilities. The award affords me the opportunity to create conditions which will allow me to focus more intently on my work and push it further in the years to come. I am honoured to be included amongst this group of talented artists whose strong voices remind us of art's potential to both move and challenge. I am thankful to all those who have believed, encouraged, supported, called into question, trusted, taken issue, pushed, shared, disputed, and cared.”

Kapwani Kiwanga is the fifteenth Canadian artist under 40 to win the distinguished annual award, which is valued this year at 100,000 CAD. The four other finalists: Jordan Bennett, representing the Atlantic region; Jon Rafman, from Québec; Joi T. Arcand, representing the Prairies and the North and Jeneen Frei Njootli from the West Coast and Yukon; each take home 25,000 CAD. The 2018 Sobey Art Award Jury was impressed with Kapwani Kiwanga's critically engaged and visually compelling work.

“The jury noted how Kapwani Kiwanga creates a visual language to reconsider complexities and peripheries of history. She points to fissures in our human narrative. Using archival materials and referencing anthropology, agriculture, and urban design, among other sources; she reveals global effects of the colonial project. In so doing, she addresses hidden authoritarian structures, institutional devices, and power imbalances to help us see the world differently.”

The Sobey Art Award aims to promote new developments in contemporary Canadian art and provide much needed financial support for artists as they grow their practice and develop their international network.

This year, a total of 240,000 CAD in prize money was awarded: the 100,000 CAD for the overall winner, the 25,000 CAD given to each of the four shortlisted artists, as well as 2,000 CAD was awarded to each of the remaining 20 longlisted artists. In addition to the cash awards, three nominees from the longlist will take part in the Sobey Art Award Residencies Program—international art residencies funded by the Sobey Art Foundation. 

Rob Sobey, Chairman of the Sobey Art Foundation, congratulated the 2018 winner on behalf of the Foundation at the gala event: “We are delighted to welcome Kapwani Kiwanga into the alumni of Sobey Art Award winners,” he said. “This has been another amazing exhibition and I’d like to thank all of the five shortlisted artists for their hard work and commitment to this process and especially to this exhibition.”

The 2018 Sobey Art Award exhibition showcasing the work of all five shortlisted artists is on view at the National Gallery of Canada until February 10, 2019.


For all Canadian media enquiries, please contact:
Geneviève Menard, Manager Media Relations, National Gallery of Canada
T 613 990 1654 / gmenard [​at​]

Bernard Doucet, Sobey Art Foundation
T 902 752 8371, ext. 2301 / bernard.doucet [​at​]

For all international media enquiries, please contact:
Catriona Collins, Pickles PR
T +44 771 935 7114 / catriona [​at​]

National Gallery of Canada
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