Sobey Art Award 2023

The National Gallery of Canada, Canada
Deadline: 10 March 2023

National Gallery of Canada. Courtesy of the Gallery

National Gallery of Canada. Courtesy of the Gallery

Nominations for the 2023 Sobey Art Award are now open! All nominations will be reviewed by an independent jury comprised of one distinguished representative from each of Canada’s five regions: the Atlantic Provinces, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and the North, and the West Coast and Yukon, and also includes one international juror. The jury will oversee the selection process and establish the long and short lists as well as the winner of the award.

The Sobey Art Award, recognized as one of the world’s most generous privately funded prizes for contemporary visual artists, is open to Canadian artists of all ages.

This year, a total of $400,000 in prize money will be awarded: $100,000 to the overall winner, $25,000 to each of the shortlisted artists, and $10,000 to the remaining long-listed artists. In addition, the five shortlisted artists will be featured in an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in Fall 2023.

All application materials must be submitted to the National Gallery of Canada by 8 p.m. EST on Friday, March 10, 2023.

The National Gallery of Canada accepts nominations for the 2023 Sobey Art Award from recognized agents, artists and institutions. The NGC will notify by email confirmation of receipt of the nomination package.

Apply here.

Eligibility criteria for artists

The Sobey Art Award is open to individual artists and collectives. To be eligible, nominees must:

  • Be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada;
  • Have shown a commitment to artistic practice; and
  • Have received recognition from peers, critics and/or curators.

Eligibility criteria for nominators

Nominators must be one or more of the following:

  • A director, curator or member of the Board of Directors of a Canadian museum, public art gallery, professional arts organization or artist-run-centre;
  • A Dean, Chair or other professional of a Fine Arts program at a Canadian university or art college;
  • A private Canadian dealer in visual or media arts;
  • An established visual or media arts critic, writer or independent curator; and/or
  • An established artist.

Application guidelines

The completed application package must include all of the following:

  • Completed nomination form (filled online);
  • Artist’s headshot, where the longest side of the image is at least 2,000 pixels (with full authorization for non-commercial, promotional use by the Sobey Art Foundation, the NGC, and third-party media in print, web and social media, in support of the 2023 Sobey Art Award). In the case of a collective, please include a photo of the full group;
  • Artist’s/collective’s CV;
  • 100-word biography in English or French (please note that the biography will be translated into the other official language);
  • Maximum of 10 digital images of the nominee’s most recent work, including a minimum of 5 digital images that are fully authorized for non-commercial, promotional use by the Sobey Art Foundation, the NGC, and third-party media in print, web and social media, in support of the 2023 Sobey Art Award. Nominees may also provide a maximum of 5 audio/video works (hosted online);
  • Numbered list of the submitted digital images (see digital-image submission guidelines below); and
  • 1 to 2-page reference letter by the nominator, detailing the nominee’s most significant achievements and reasons for the nomination. The letter must outline:
    – Why the nominee should be considered as a candidate for the Sobey Art Award. Artists at all levels of their career are eligible for consideration. In listing the nominee’s accomplishments, attention should be paid to explaining how their practice distinguishes itself among that of their peers in the field of contemporary artistic production in Canada. If the nominee is in mid-career, emphasis may be placed on why they deserve wider recognition both in and outside of Canada;
    – How the present moment marks a critical juncture within the nominee’s practice. For more established artists and/or those with long careers, this might entail a turning point, a new direction, or recognizing consistency within an overall oeuvre that has yet to receive proper attention; and
    – How the nominee’s practice may, should or does resonate outside of the country. This is pertinent as the Sobey Art Award is Canada’s pre-eminent prize for contemporary art and its selection committee includes a prominent international juror.

Digital-image submission guidelines

  • Large, high-quality images, where the longest side of the image is at least 2,000 pixels (press- and print-ready).
  • No more than 10 images of the nominee’s most recent work will be accepted.
  • Files must be PC and Mac compatible (.jpg only).
  • Each file name must include a number, the artist’s first initial and last name, and the year and title of the work (e.g., 01jsmith2015artworktitle.jpg). For collectives, please include a number, the collective’s name, and the year and title of the work (01collectivename2015artworktitle.jpg). Do not include special characters, symbols, quotation marks, spaces, etc.

Additional support material (video or audio) submission guidelines

  • Up to 5 video or audio works will be accepted.
  • Video files must be made available online (through a secure area of your website, or via YouTube or Vimeo).
  • ZIP files will not be accepted.

Please note that only one submission per artist or collective will be accepted.

In the event that you have questions about the application process, contact


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