Who Won the Sobey Art Award 2022?

Source Credit:  Content and images from Ocula Magazine.  Read the original article - https://ocula.com/magazine/art-news/divya-mehra-winner-sobey-art-award-2022/

Canada’s biggest contemporary art prize went to the creator of a mint green Taj Mahal bouncy castle.

Who Won the Sobey Art Award 2022?

Divya Mehra, Afterlife of Colonialism, a reimagining of Power (2018–2022). PVC-coated fabric, acrylic paint, plastic and electric components. © Divya Mehra. Purchased 2019 (48651). Courtesy National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo: NGC.

The winner of Canada’s Sobey Art Award, the country’s preeminent prize for contemporary art, was announced tonight at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) in Ottawa.

Established by the Sobey Art Foundation in 2002 and hosted by the NGC, the CAD $100,000 prize is given annually to ‘gifted’ Canadian contemporary visual artists to propel their careers.

Previous winners have included Jeremy Shaw, David Altmejd, Tim Lee, and Duane Linklater.

This year’s winner is Winnipeg-born visual artist Divya Mehra, who represents the Prairies and North region.

‘It’s an honour to be recognized and celebrated for your work in this way,’ Mehra said in a statement.

Mehra, who completed an MFA with Columbia University in 2008, is known for playful and sharp-witted works, with deeper cultural and political themes. Her practice spans the mediums of photography, sculpture, installation, drawing, performance, and film.

A jury of curators from across Canada and one international juror chose Mehra from a shortlist of five artists—one from each of the designated regions in Canada. These were whittled down from a long list of 25 artist nominations (five per region).

Divya Mehra, Afterlife of Colonialism, a reimagining of Power (2018–2022). PVC-coated fabric, acrylic paint, plastic and electric components. © Divya Mehra. Purchased 2019 (48651).

Divya Mehra, Afterlife of Colonialism, a reimagining of Power (2018–2022). PVC-coated fabric, acrylic paint, plastic and electric components. © Divya Mehra. Purchased 2019 (48651). Courtesy National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo: NGC.

‘The 2022 Sobey Art Award jury found Divya Mehra’s work resoundingly timely and sophisticated in addressing systems of cultural representation, production, and authority’, said Director of Curatorial Initiatives at NGC Jonathan Shaughnessy, who chaired this year’s jury.

Using language and aesthetics tied in with popular culture and visual signifiers of resistance, Mehra’s art uses humour as entry point into issues of colonialism, marginalisation, racism, the construct of ‘diversity’, and her own experiences and ties to the Indian diaspora. More recently her work has also turned to institutional critiques around issues of cultural consumption, ownership and repatriation.

Shaughnessy noted that ‘the impact of Mehra’s practice extends beyond established constructs of art.’

Her research for the 2020 exhibition From India to Canada and back to India led to the discovery, deaccession and repatriation to India of a looted artefact from the collection of MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina.

For an ongoing exhibition alongside the four other shortlisted artists at the NGC— running through 12 March 2023—Mehra presented a new work that takes the form of a green inflatable bouncy castle rendition of the iconic Taj Mahal.

The full title the work is: Afterlife of Colonialism, a reimagining of Power: It’s possible that the Sun has set on your Empire OR Why your voice does not matter: Portrait of an Imbalanced, and yet contemporary diasporic India vis-à-vis Colonial Red, Curry Sauce Yellow, and Paradise Green, placed neatly beneath these revived medieval forms: The Challenges of entering a predominantly White space (Can you get this in the gift shop?) where all Women and Magical Elephants may know this work, here in your Winnipeg, among all my Peers, desiring to be both seen and see the loot, through this Jungle Vine camouflage, celebrating an in­heritance of loss through occupation of these outmoded spaces (2018– 22).

The four other artists shortlisted for the award will receive CAD $25,000 each. They are Krystle Silverfox, Azza El Siddique, Stanley Février, and Tyshan Wright. Interim Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada Angela Cassie thanked ‘all of the incredible artists who created dynamic experiences and allowed for new ways of seeing ourselves and our diverse stories’.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Ocula Magazine.  Read the original article - https://ocula.com/magazine/art-news/divya-mehra-winner-sobey-art-award-2022/