Nadia Myre, an aboriginal multidisciplinary artist from Quebec, has won the $50,000 Sobey Art Award, one of Canada's most prestigious visual art awards.

Nadia Myre

Earlier this week, the Sobey Art Award was handed out in Winnipeg to Nadia Myre. This annual prize is worth $50,000. Myre is an Algonquin member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation from Quebec. She spoke to Unreserved's Rosanna Deerchild about her winning art piece. (Terry MacLeod/CBC)

Organizers announced Myre, a member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation north of Gatineau, Que., as this year's winner at a gala event Wednesday night at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

"Myre has built a distinctive visual vocabulary by translating her experience and that of others into works that employ traditional crafts within a contemporary, multidisciplinary practice," a statement from the Sobey Art Award jury reads in part.

"Her artwork creates a symbolic image of wounding and resilience that conveys something deeply human while addressing urgent social concerns."

She was presented with the top prize by Ontario-based Cree artist Duane Linklater, who won last year's Sobey Art Award.

Four runners-up receive $10,000 each:

  • Evan Lee, West Coast/Yukon region nominee.
  • Neil Farber and Michael Dumontier, Prairies/North nominees.
  • Chris Curreri, Ontario nominee.
  • Graeme Patterson, Atlantic nominee.

Sobey Art Award 2014 finalists

The finalists for the Sobey Art Award, including winner Nadia Myre (second from left), gather at the Winnipeg Art Gallery before the award gala on Wednesday. (Terry MacLeod/CBC)

In an interview with CBC News in Montreal earlier this year, Myre said, "I would describe myself as a visual activist. A lot of the work that I'm making has a political base, and as a conceptual artist, I'm trying to say something."

She had been nominated for the Sobey Award in 2011, 2012 and 2013. As well, she was shortlisted for the Powerhouse Art Prize in 2013.

Administered by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Halifax-based Sobey Art Foundation, the Sobey Art Award highlights the work of emerging Canadian contemporary artists aged 40 or under.

Since the award was established in 2002, past winners have included Raphaelle de Groot, David Altmejd, Tim Lee and Annie Pootoogook.

The nominees for this year's Sobey Art Award, released in April, included five artists chosen from five regions of Canada.

A curatorial panel whittled down the list of 25 nominees to a short list of five finalists before choosing the winner.

The remaining 20 nominees receive $500 each.

Works from this year's short list are on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery until Jan. 18.