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Ontarians win $50K Sobey Award for contemporary art

Ontario-based artists Christian Giroux and Daniel Young have won the $50,000 Sobey Award for contemporary art.
Christian Giroux and Daniel Young are winners of the $50,000 Sobey Art Award. One of their works is a film of diverse lighting fixtures bought from Home Depot. (Art Gallery of Nova Scotia)
Ontario-based artists Christian Giroux and Daniel Young have won the $50,000 Sobey Award for contemporary art.

The pair, who have collaborated since 2002, were named winners at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax on Thursday. Adam Gopnik, a writer and critic who is in the midst of delivering this year's Massey Lectures, and last year's winner, Daniel Barrow, presented the award.

Giroux is an instructor at University of Guelph.

"Young and Giroux reflect a curious world where digital interfaces have become an inextricable part of our lives," the jury said in its citation.

Their work uses consumer goods and industrial components to create sculpture and installation pieces. One of the works submitted in the competition was a film of diverse lighting fixtures bought from Home Depot. Other sculptures use bits of IKEA furniture or ductwork twisted into playful forms.

The jury praised their art for its references to industrial and computer processes and for investigating "our affection for material, formal elements, space and our relationship with the lingering legacy of modernism."

Five of Canada's leading contemporary artists, each representing a different region, were competing for the award.

The other finalists were:

  • Charles Stankievech, West Coast and Yukon.
  • Sarah Anne Johnson, Prairies and the North.
  • Manon De Pauw, Que.
  • Zeke Moores, Atlantic Canada.

Each finalist will receive $5,000. Their work has been on display at AGNS in Halifax since Sept. 17.

Christian Giroux, left, accepts the Sobey Art Award, with his artistic partner Daniel Young. (Steve Farmer/Art Gallery of Nova Scotia)
"We are grouped with some fantastic artists, any one of whom should have won that award," Giroux said after accepting the prize. " Canada makes so many good artists. There are so many good artists that are underrecognized, and it's good that there's this award to bring more recognition." 

Established in 2002, the Sobey Art Award seeks to focus public interest on contemporary art and shine a spotlight on the country's best young artists. Previous winners include David Altmejd, Tim Lee, Michel de Broin and Annie Pootoogook.

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