ADAM Basanta won the Aesthetica Art Prize in York on Thursday night at York Art Gallery and promptly donated one fifth of his £5,000 prize to cover the travel costs of his fellow artists who had attended the event.

The sound installation artist, from Montreal, Canada, achieved his first British art prize in this prestigious international competition run by York art magazine Aesthetica, which drew 3,500 entries, reduced to a long list of 100 and a shortlist of 16 from Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, the United States and Great Britain.

Utilising a range of media, the finalists worked within the categories of photographic and digital art; painting, drawing and mixed media; three-dimensional design and sculpture and video, installation and performance.

Mr Basanta's winning work, Curtain (white), is a sound installation comprised of 240 pairs of white earbud headphones, acrylic electronics and 24-channel sound that "tests the potential of ready-made technologies as instruments of personal or mass communication". In a nutshell, he does not modify the ubiquitous object; instead he "modifies the arrangement of the object", in this case a curtain of headphones that becomes a wall of white noise that could be the sound of the wind or ocean waves.

"It's a good feeling to win; I'm very happy to be here," said Mr Basanta after the award ceremony at York Art Gallery, where the prize exhibition is being held for the first time after four years at York St Mary's.

"I heard about the Aesthetica Art Prize through a friend who was on the long list for last year's prize and I thought it sounded a progressive prize that was something I should enter, and it's now the biggest pay-off I've ever had."

Maryam Tafakory won the Emerging Artist prize with her video Absent Wound but illness prevented her from attending the ceremony. The Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition will run until September 10.