I had the privilege of curating Emerging North at the Yukon Arts Centre
March 13 – May 22, 2020
Emerging North responds to the 50th Anniversary of the Arctic Winter Games. (On March 7, officials announced the Games were cancelled due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19). The Arctic Winter Games was scheduled to be held in Whitehorse, Yukon in March 2020 with nearly 2,000 young athletes travelling from afar to attend the Games.
Emerging North echoes the Arctic Winter Games’ values of the spirit of togetherness, legacy building, and Northern pride. Emerging North is a celebration of young Indigenous artistic achievement. Many of the artists included in this exhibition have not been shown in the Yukon Arts Centre’s Main Gallery before and are considered “emerging” artists or at the beginning of their careers. Artists were identified by their diverse representation, prowess, and array of artistic mediums.
Kaylyn Baker, Krystle Coughlin Silverfox, Violet Gatensby, Blake Shaa’koon Lepine, Cole Pauls and Heather Von Steinhagen were approached to create new artworks for Emerging North. In addition, previously created artworks by Benjamin Gribben and Jeneen Frei Njootli were selected from the Yukon Permanent Art Collection for their connection to the overall theme and their significance in artistic excellence.
Artists were offered one of the largest exhibition spaces in Yukon which provided an opportunity for young Indigenous artists to discover, learn, and develop new works that they may otherwise not have created. Through a wide range of media including paintings, print work, carvings, beadwork, illustration, sculpture, and installation art; these artists activate the Yukon Arts Centre’s Main Gallery in a playful and experimental capacity exploring themes of shared northern experiences, Indigenous futurisms, and the relationship between culture and play.
Tsin’ii choh; A special thank you to Mary Bradshaw, Yukon Arts Centre, Arctic Winter Games and Lotteries Yukon, Garnet Muething, Friends of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection, Mimmo Maiolo, Guillaume Riocreux, and finally to the artists whom I am honoured to have worked with: Kaylyn Baker, Krystle Coughlin Silverfox, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Violet Gatensby, Benjamin Gribben, Blake Shaa’koon Lepine, Cole Pauls, and Heather Von Steinhagen.
Guardians of the Portal (2019) acrylic paint on birch door by Blake Shaa’koon Lepine
Paradise (2020) wood panel, acrylic paint, glow powder, canvas, and resin with video projection, spray paint on wood by Heather Von Steinhagen
The Battle Between Octopus and Squid (2017) yellow cedar, acrylic, sinew Courtesy of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection
Diving Shark (2011) yellow cedar, acrylic, abalone, black twine Courtesy of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection by Benjamin Gribben
Arctic Winter Games (2020) woodblock print, acrylic paint by Blake Shaa’koon Lepine
Pole Push, Knuckle Hop, Finger Pull, One Foot High Kick, Snowsnake (2020) all artworks ink on paper by Cole Pauls
1986 (2020) moose antler, oil paint, red fox fur, birch bark, sweet grass, abalone, bugle beads, 24 karat gold beads, caribou hair, embroidery by Kaylyn Baker
Quake (2013) silkscreen print Courtesy of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection by Jeneen Frei Njootli
Copper Arrows (2020) wood, copper, feathers, acrylic paint, thread
Spirit of the Hunter (2020) carved gunstock
He Never Went Hungry Again (2020) woodburn on moose hide, fabric, thread by Violet Gatensby
Ets’edegel’ (Spear Game) (2020) cedar, acrylic paint, copperleaf by Krystle Coughlin Silverfox
All copyrights are retained by the individual artists.
Click to view virtual tour: Emerging North Exhibit Tour
Click to view artist talk: Emerging North Artist Talk
Click to book an appointment to visit the Gallery: Visit The Yukon Arts Centre!