The Sobey Art Award is Canada's pre-eminent award for contemporary Canadian art. The annual prize is given to an artist under age 40, who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated.
Abbas Akhavan's practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. The direction of his research has been deeply influenced by the specificity of the sites where he works: the architectures that house them, the economies that surround them, and the people that frequent them. The domestic sphere, as a forked space between hospitality and hostility, has been an ongoing area of research in Akhavan's practice. Recent works have shifted focus, wandering onto spaces and species just outside the home – the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes.
Residencies include Foundation Marcelino Botin with Mona Hatoum (Spain), Le Printemps de Septembre (France), Trinity Square Video, Western Front, and Fogo Islands (Canada), The Watermill Center (USA), and The Delfina Foundation (Dubai, UAE & London, UK).
Recent exhibitions include: Burning down the house Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (2014); Variations on a Garden, Galerie Mana, Istanbul (2013); Study for a Garden, Delfina Foundation, London (2012); Tactics for Here & Now, Bucharest Biennale, Bucharest (2012); Tools for Conviviality, Power Plant, Toronto (2012); Beacon, Darling Foundry, Montreal (2012); Phantomhead, Performa 11, New York (2011); Seeing is Believing, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011).
Akhavan is the recipient of Kunstpreis Berlin (2012), and Abraaj Group Art Prize (2014). Akhavan lives and works in Toronto and Istanbul. He is represented by The Third Line.