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Altmejd, Dzama finalists for Sobey contemporary art prize

David Altmejd and Marcel Dzama, two of Canada's best known young contemporary artists, have been shortlisted for the $50,000 Sobey Art Award, organizers announced Friday.

David Altmejd and Marcel Dzama, two of Canada's best-known young contemporary artists, have been shortlisted for the $50,000 Sobey Art Award, organizers announced Friday.

Montreal installation artist Altmejd, Canada's featured artist at the 2007Venice Biennale, is the finalist for the Quebec region.

Royal Art Lodge co-founder Dzama, a sculptor, illustrator and video artist originally from Winnipeg, was selected to represent the Prairie and North regions.

Both are now based in New York.

Rounding out the list of finalists are:

  • Multidisciplinary artist Shary Boyle, representing the Ontario region.
  • Transplanted Saskatoon sculptural installation artist Graeme Patterson, now living in Halifax and representing the Atlantic region.
  • Victoria, B.C.-based illustrator and sculptor Luanne Martineau, also originally from Saskatoon, representing the West Coast and Yukon.

"Faced with the benefit of a uniformly strong selection of candidates, the jury came to a unanimous consensus on this year's shortlist," the curatorial panel said in a statement.

"Each artist shares a depth of commitment to their creation and exploration of idiosyncratic worlds that are real, imagined and fantastical."

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia will mount an exhibit featuring work by each of the shortlisted artists from Sept. 5 through Nov. 5.

The 2009 winner will be announced on Oct. 15 at a ceremony held at the Halifax gallery. The winner will take home a $50,000 prize, while the remaining finalists will receive $5,000 each.

Established in 2002, the Sobey Art Award is an annual prize that honours Canadian contemporary artists under the age of 40. To be eligible, artists must have exhibited in a public or commercial gallery within 18 months of their nomination.

Past winners have included Brian Jungen, Annie Pootoogook and Michel de Broin.