Yukon’s permanent art collection celebrates 40 years

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The main gallery of the Yukon Arts Center opened on Monday for the 40th exhibition of the permanent art collection.

This year’s exhibition, titled Collective memory, celebrates the last four decades with all the changes, evolutions and developments observed in the artistic community of the territory.

This piece by Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé has been part of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection since 2018. (Sissi De Flaviis / CBC)

Garnet Muething, art curator for the Department of Tourism and Culture, said there is a wide variety of artistic mediums, from beadwork and sculpture, to sculptures, large canvases and more.

“For the first time, we are showing over 20 new acquisitions from the collection that have never been presented before. So people can see these brand new pieces alongside pieces that have been collected since the early 1980s.” , she said. .

Marla Charlie’s Alaska-style ballet shoes are one of the newest additions to the Yukon permanent art collection. (Sissi De Flaviis / CBC)

The Permanent Art Collection was founded in 1981 to preserve, honor and share the visual art works of local artists.

With the new acquisitions, the collection now numbers over 500 works by 275 artists, most of whom are Yukoners.

“We also have artists who have either met the North or have come to spend time there,” says Muething.

The collection also includes a range of artists, from established talents to early career people.

A few pieces on this year’s new acquisition list come from unpublished artists such as Cécile Girard from the Association Franco-Yukonnaise (AFY).

In 2017, for Canada’s 150th anniversary, Girard and AFY created From thread to history, a community project that recreated, in the form of dolls, the French-speaking characters who marked the history of the territory.

From thread to story, a collection of dolls by Cécile Girard from the Association Franco-Yukonnaise (AFY), is part of the new acquisition work. (Sissi De Flaviis / CBC)

“When we started the project we didn’t know how it was going to end, but they were so beautiful we wanted to keep them together,” said Girard, who moved to the Yukon 40 years ago.

All 14 dolls include figures from the Gold Rush and other historical moments and will now be kept permanently in the collection.

Landscape with Horse by Veronica Verkley is made of a combination of metal, plastic, wire, wood, leather and stone. It was incorporated into the collection in 2009. (Sissi De Flaviis / CBC)

“These dolls celebrate the history of the French community and French history here in the Yukon, so knowing that she is part of the permanent art collection has great meaning for me and I’m sure for the community too” , Girard said. .

Although the permanent art collection includes hundreds of pieces, Muething, the art curator, said only a third of the art is on display at any one time. This includes approximately 80 pieces at the Main Gallery, a few in Yukon communities, and the rest are stored in a temperature-controlled vault at the Yukon Art Center.

“It’s a really unique opportunity to see this big part of the collection because normally we are able to keep smaller pieces of it,” said Muething.

The Collective Memory exhibition will be open to the public until February 25, 2022.


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