Whitehorse Daily Star

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ALL IN THE RUNNING – The six finalists for the $20,000 prize are, top row, left to right: Kaylyn Baker, Jeffrey Langille and Rebekah Miller; and, bottom row, left to right, Cole Pauls (artist rendition), Omar Reyna and Alainnah Whachell.

Six finalists chosen for visual arts prize

The organizers of the Yukon Prize for Visual Arts have announced the six finalists for the $20,000 prize.

By Whitehorse Star on June 16, 2023

The organizers of the Yukon Prize for Visual Arts have announced the six finalists for the $20,000 prize.

They are:

Kaylyn Baker, Selkirk First Nation citizen, Whitehorse;

Jeffrey Langille, Dawson City;

Rebekah Miller, Dawson City;

Cole Pauls, Champagne and Aishihik and Tahltan citizen, living in Vancouver;

Omar Reyna, Whitehorse; and

Alainnah Whachell, Whitehorse.

The Yukon Prize for Visual Arts is a biennial award that recognizes excellence by Yukon visual artists.

The Prize is intended to be a catalyst for the promotion of Yukon visual arts and to inspire connections between Yukon artists and the visual arts community in the rest of Canada.

The Prize provides $20,000 to one Yukon artist to help them focus full-time on creating art. Five other finalists will receive $3,000 each.

More than 60 Yukon artists applied for the Yukon Prize in an open competition that closed Feb. 28.

The finalists were chosen by a jury of three arts professionals:

Dr. Heather Igloliorte (Inuk-Newfoundlander, Nunatsiavut) is the university research chair in Circumpolar Indigenous Arts at Concordia University in Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal;

Michelle Jacques, head of exhibitions and collections/chief curator at Remai Modern, which is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of Métis, in Saskatoon; and

Sarah Milroy, chief curator of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ont., previously the Globe and Mail’s arts correspondent and former editor and publisher of Canadian Art (1991-1996).

The Yukon Prize celebration weekend will take place Sept. 14-17 in Whitehorse, coinciding with the opening of a curated exhibition of the finalists’ work at the Yukon Arts Centre.

A gala event to announce the recipient of the $20,000 Yukon Prize and celebrate Yukon visual arts is planned for Sept. 16 in Whitehorse.

The first Yukon Prize for Visual Arts was offered in 2021. The recipient was Joseph Tisiga.

The Yukon Prize for Visual Arts is privately sponsored and is a partnership of co-founders Julie Jai and David Trick, the Yukon Arts Foundation, the arts centre and a dedicated team of volunteers.

“I continue to be astounded by the diversity and depth of talent of Yukon artists,” said Jai.

“I hope that everyone will take the time to discover the exceptional work of the six finalists. A big thank you to all of the artists who have applied to the Yukon Prize and to our wonderful jurors.”

Trick added, “One of our goals is for Yukon artists to gain the national and international recognition they deserve.

“We want to help place Yukon art firmly into the national dialogue about art and increase awareness of the exceptional talent of Yukon artists.”

Milroy said, “The applicants for this prize exemplified the diversity of approaches to making art that are alive and well in the Yukon, from beadwork and weaving to electronic sound works and sculptural installation. It was a privilege to be immersed in such a rich feast of creativity.”

Jacques said she found “so much talent represented in this year’s applications; it was not an easy task for us to produce our long and short lists!

“It was, however, a very stimulating and enjoyable process, and I extend my profound gratitude to all the artists who shared their work with us and everyone involved in bringing the Prize to life.”

Duncan Sinclair, a Yukon Prize Committee member and arts centre foundation board member, said, “It can just take a single spark. Yet that spark needs to come from somewhere.

“These sparks auger extraordinary things, ignite inspiration and personal and community feelings of validation and support and even build legacies.

“The Yukon Prize for Visual Arts is a poster child for all of these things and more, spearheaded by two exceptional Canadians and cultural ambassadors, Julie Jai and David Trick, who have reached out and engaged a community in the process,” Sinclair added.

“This is a volunteer-led, privately funded initiative serving our visual arts community throughout the territory. And others are getting on board in the spirit of Yukon,” he added.

“There is so much to share. So much can and will come of this!”

Casey Prescott, the arts centre’s CEO, said, “Seeing the reach and impact of the Yukon Prize continue to grow creates valuable visibility for the Yukon. The finalists for the second edition of this prestigious award continue to showcase the very best of Yukon visual arts.

“We look forward to hosting the gallery exhibition and gala in the fall with these exceptional artists.”

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