Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory Wins 2021 Sobey Art Award

Congratulations to Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory on winning the 2021 Sobey Art Award! The $100,000 prize is among the most prestigious in Canadian art, awarded annually to an exceptional emerging artist.

Williamson Bathory is a kalaaleq (Greenlandic Inuk) performance artist, poet, actor, storyteller and writer based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. She is known for performing uaajeerneq, a Greenlandic mask dance that involves storytelling centred around three elements: fear, humour and sexuality. Williamson Bathory describes uaajeerneq as both a political and cultural act and an idiosyncratic art form.

The artist’s piece Nannuppugut! (We killed a polar bear!) (2021) is currently on view at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, as part of the 2021 Sobey Art Award exhibition. The installation work features a stretched polar bear skin suspended within a wooden frame, while a video of Williamson Bathory performing a drum dance celebrating the bear’s spirit is projected onto the skin. The bear was shot by the artist herself, who quickly took action after an unexpected visit from the bear in the middle of the night. The exhibition is on view until February 20, 2022.

Williamson Bathory is the second Inuk ever to win the coveted Sobey Art Award. Kinngait artist Annie Pootoogook was first awarded the coveted prize in 2006.

In conjunction with Art Toronto 2020, Feheley Fine Arts was pleased to present a virtual performance by Willamson Bathory. It is our pleasure to re-share the performance with you below.