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Canadian artist David Altmejd posies for a portrait with his art piece, The Hunter, at the Oakville Galleries2 in Oakville, Ont.

Deborah Baic/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

The 35-year old, New York-based Canadian artist David Altmejd was announced the winner of the 2009 Sobey Art Award, in a ceremony Thursday night at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, in Halifax.

Canada's representative at the Venice Biennial two years ago, Mr. Altmejd received his first artistic training in Montreal, where he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Université du Québec à Montréal, before heading to New York to complete his Masters of Fine Arts at Columbia University.

The $50,000 prize celebrates his accomplishments as a sculptor and installation artist, working in a broad variety of materials – from fine gold chain, crystal and mirrors to animal fur, Plasticine, taxidermied animals and black leather.

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As the jury citation states, his work "represents the pursuit of metamorphosis and mutation as a means of releasing energy."

The Sobey Art Award is given annually to an emerging Canadian artist by the Sobey Art Foundation. The winner was selected by a panel of art experts from across Canada.

Other finalists for the 2009 award included Graeme Patterson (Atlantic), Luanne Martineau (West Coast And Yukon), Shary Boyle (Ontario) and Marcel Dzama (Prairies and North). The work of all the Sobey Art Award contestants will remain on view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia until Nov. 5.

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