Inaugural Fogo Island Arts-Sobey Art Award Residency


6. Rafman_Headshot
Fogo Island Arts (FIA) and the Sobey Art Foundation are delighted to announce Jon Rafman as the winner of the inaugural Fogo Island Arts-Sobey Art Award Residency. This new residency partnership awards one of the artists shortlisted for the annual Sobey Art Award a residency on Fogo Island, Newfoundland, as part of Fogo Island Arts’ international residency program. 

“The Sobey Art Foundation is delighted to inaugurate this important residency with Fogo Island Arts,” said Rob Sobey, Chair of the Sobey Art Foundation. “Bringing together the global ambitions of the Sobey Art Award and Fogo Island Arts for contemporary Canadian art and artists is particularly meaningful for both organizations, especially given our Atlantic Canadian roots.”

“We are thrilled to include Jon Rafman in our residency program in 2019,” said Nicolaus Schafhausen, Strategic Director of FIA. “His visionary work about the increasingly blurred lines between material and virtual realities intertwines with themes of globalization, development and idealization, topics that are often also approached at Fogo Island Arts.”

The Sobey Art Foundation’s support is a significant contribution to Fogo Island Arts’ Patrons Program, a major fundraising campaign launched in 2016 to support FIA initiatives. The partnership between Fogo Island Arts and the Sobey Art Foundation reflects a shared understanding of the critical role that contemporary art plays in enriching and revitalizing communities.

The work of Jon Rafman explores the impact of technology on contemporary consciousness, incorporating the rich vocabulary of virtual worlds to create poetic narratives that critically engage with the present. His recent solo exhibitions include Dream Journal ’16  ’17, Sprüth Magers Berlin (2017); I Have Ten Thousand Compound Eyes and Each is Named Suffering, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2016); Westfälischer Kunstverein, Munster (2016); Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal (2015); and the Zabludowicz Collection, London (2015). Born in Montreal, he studied Philosophy and Literature at McGill University and received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Sobey Art Award is the pre-eminent prize for Canadian artists aged 40 and under. Presented annually, the award celebrates some of our country’s most exciting young artists. This year it will present $240,000 in prize money – including a top prize of $100,000 for the winner. Within little more than a decade, the Sobey Art Award and its attendant publicity have also boosted mainstream awareness and acceptance of contemporary art in Canada. Since 2015, the Award has been organized and administered by the National Gallery of Canada.

Jon Rafman. Photo courtesy of the artist.