‘Consistently provocative’ Rebecca Belmore wins $50K visual arts prize

Montreal-based Indigenous artist Rebecca Belmore is the 2016 recipient of the Gershon Iskowitz Prize.

Belmore will receive a $50,000 cash prize and a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario within two years.

Presented in partnership with the AGO, the prize is handed out annually to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to the visual arts in Canada.

Born in Upsala, Ont., in 1960, Belmore has earned several honours for her artistic work including the Governor General’s Visual Arts Award in 2013.

She’s previously had solo exhibitions at the Canadian Pavilion of the 51st Venice Biennale, the AGO, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto.


Belmore is known for creating provocative, thought-provoking artworks in a variety of media, including performance and installation art. (Rebecca Belmore/Vancouver Art Gallery)

Iskowitz Foundation president Thomas Bjarnason describes Belmore as one of the country’s most important visual artists, whose work crosses disciplines between film, installation and performance.

“Rebecca is renowned for a consistently provocative interrogation of the status of our Indigenous peoples through work that tests the relationship of audience, artist and art,” he said in a statement.

The Gershon Iskowitz Foundation is a private charitable foundation established in 1986 through the generosity of the late Polish-born Canadian painter Gershon Iskowitz. 

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