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i u a pi pu pa ti tu ta ki ku ka gi gu ga mi mu ma ni nu na si su sa li lu la ji ju ja vi vu va ri ru ra qi qu qa ngi ngu nga lhi lhu lha

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Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory wins the Sobey Art Award

Inuit Art Foundation | November 06, 2021

Categories: news

Kalaaleq artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory has been named winner of the 2021 Sobey Art Award. The multidisciplinary artist, poet, curator and uaajeerneq (Greenlandic mask dancer) performer is only the second Inuk to win the prestigious $100,000 prize in its 20-year history, following Annie Pootoogook (1969–2016), who received the honour in 2006.

The announcement was made on November 6th at an in-person ceremony at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) in Ottawa, ON, introduced by Governor General Mary May Simon, who praised the artists for connecting humanity through their art. "When we take back our own stories, reclaim them, we can start to shape ourselves and how others perceive us," she said on stage. 

Stephanie Comilang, the 2019 award winner, announced Williamson Bathory as the recipient of this year's award (In 2020, the Sobey was split between the 25 longlisted artists). Williamson Bathory came up on stage, laughing with infectious delight, before turning serious, asking those present to quietly make eye contact with each other and to remember not just their own children, but "the thousands and thousands of Indigenous children buried in all the homelands all over this country." She continued, "We have to hold these children inside us, always and forever. To me, this is our art..."

When asked by the IAQ following the event whether she had any projects that the award's $100,000 purse would help facilitate, Williamson Bathory said, "What I've really been able to show to my family and to show the community and even the arts in general is that I'm able to provide for my family as an artist. And it should be a viable option for everybody. I am very proud that I'm able to raise my two children as healthy and strong individuals by making art."

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