A look at Yukon art in the National Galley Collection

A look at Yukon art in the National Galley Collection

Sarah Frey | July 1, 2018

When we think about Canada as a country, it is impossible to pin-point any specific visual identity. For some, it’s the work of the Group of Seven, for others it’s the iconic block printing of the high Arctic, and for many Canadians their grandmother’s beadwork defines their Canadian experience.

For this reason, Canada’s National Gallery spans a diverse set of works from coast, to coast, to coast. As of 2010, the Yukon Territory became a part of that collection. This weekend, as we celebrate Canada’s 151st birthday, the Yukon Arts Centre takes the opportunity to explore and share what Yukon works form part of how we define ourselves as a nation.

Doug Smarch Jr. is a member of the Teslin Tlingit Nation. Raised in the traditional lifestyle, Smarch learnt carving from his community before going on to attend the Institute of American Indian Arts. Smarch accomplished multiple post-secondary achievements in fine arts, before moving back to his home in the Yukon.

In 2004, Smarch debuted a series of work titled Lucinations. Smarch utilized the computer program Maya for the 3D rendered animation and created a 12x20 feather screen. It was based on a Teslin legend which talks about a man who when looking for a lost relative, his spirit was turned into a fox so that he would be able to travel much faster. While traveling the man could see a cloud hanging over the town, and warned the community that a great change would come. Soon after the Alaska Highway was built, which did indeed forever change the culture and community of Teslin.

The National Gallery of Canada acquired Lucinations for Canada’s Permanent Collection in 2010. When exhibited, the animation is played on the feather screen.

Lucinations (detail), 2004, photo by Scott Benesiinaabandan (Winnipeg Art Gallery)

In 2015, the National Gallery of Canada made its second, and last Yukon acquisition. Kaska Dene Nation artist, Joseph Tisiga, created a series of sculptures, paintings, and drawings that challenge and explore issues around racial identity, historicism, and tropes of representation. Using surrealism, humour, and a distinct aesthetic, Tisiga turns the watercolour medium (traditionally used by settlers to depict Indigenous peoples) on its head to take control of identity.

Some of the memorable works that now lives in the Ottawa collection is the posters series The Game is Not a Game, 2014 (cover image, detail, courtesy of the artist), and the watercolour An improbable explanation to an unlikely story, 2014.

Tisiga has gone on to continue creating work that is exhibited across Canada and the North.


An improbable explanation to an unlikely story, 2014, image courtesy of the artist.

The Yukon’s artistic community continues to grow with incredible works are being created every year. As we continue seeking to define who we are as Yukoners and Canadians, many of the contemporary works we see in our community today, may one day be acquired by the National Collection.

So on this Canada Day, the Yukon Arts Centre asks you to consider what art defines you in your nationhood. Whether it’s your First Nation, or your Commonwealth Nation, art seeks to tell the story of who we are. Only you can deicide what that story is.

Now Hiring: Assistant Bookkeeper

Now Hiring: Assistant Bookkeeper

Position: Assistant Bookkeeper
Type: Permanent – 30 hours/week
PSAC Bargaining Unit Position

1. Summary:
1.1. The Assistant Bookkeeper is a member of the bargaining unit reporting to the CEO.

2. Position History:
2.1. The position was created in 2015.

3. Results to be achieved:
3.1. Maintains positive, productive relationship with clients, stakeholders, colleagues, supervisor and staff.
3.2. Ensures confidentiality with respect to organizational or client information and data.
3.3. Ensures accurate and timely payment of Accounts Payable
3.4. Ensures accurate and timely receipt and tracking of Accounts Receivable
3.5. Ensures that accounting and administrative files are maintained and complete.

4. Responsibilities and Duties:
4.1. Accounts Payable:
4.1.1. Record and track Invoices.
4.1.2. Verify Purchase Orders.
4.1.3. Issue cheques.
4.1.4. Record and track cheques.
4.1.5. Record and track all coded departmental transactions.
4.1.6. Reconcile Accounts Payable Sub Ledger

4.2. Accounts Receivable:
4.2.1. Issue Invoices
4.2.2. Record and track Accounts Receivable cheques
4.2.3. Reconcile Accounts Receivable Sub Ledger

4.3. Payroll:
4.3.1. Collect Time sheets and ensure charges are accurate.
4.3.2. Process payroll and verify that payments are correct.
4.3.3. Track overtime, time of in lieu, vacation leave, sick leave and union payments.
4.4. Bank Deposits:
4.4.1. Oversee the reconciliation of all Box Office receipts.
4.4.2. Prepare and process bank deposits.
4.5. Record keeping/filing
4.5.1. Maintain timely and accurate paper records for accounts receivable, accounts payable and other accounting files as required.
4.5.2. If responsible for Payroll = maintain timely and accurate paper records for Payroll, payroll benefits, CPP, EI, Canada Revenue.

5. Qualifications:
5.1. Knowledge
5.1.1. Basic Accounting, Bookkeeping, particularly accounts receivable and payable
5.1.2. Office procedures and effective record keeping
5.1.3. Federal and Territorial record retention requirements

5.2. Skills
5.2.1. Express and exchange information in a clear and precise manner and maintain a positive and productive relationship with clients and colleagues
5.2.2. Computer literate with an intermediate level knowledge of spread sheet design and word processing (EXCEL and MSWord)
5.2.3. Experience working with a computer based accounting system (ADAGIO or similar)

5.3. Abilities
5.3.1. Ability to work in a team environment.
5.3.2. Ability to manage a diverse workload, under short timelines and with numerous interruptions.
5.3.3. Ability to provide timely and accurate information.
5.3.4. Ability to maintain a professional, helpful manner in dealing with clients, suppliers, and colleagues.
5.3.5. Ability to work independently and meet deadlines.

Position: Assistant Bookkeeper

Status: Permanent, 30 Hours

PSAC Collective Agreement Position
Rate of Pay: $21.27/hour for the first six months (probationary)
$22.05/hour for the next 24 months

Annual Leave: As per PSAC agreement Article 28

Hours Worked: Employee will work Monday to Friday 9AM-3PM

Reports to: CEO

Start Date: TBA

Closing Date: July 6, 2018


Connection and Collaboration are top of mind for the Chu Niikwän Artist Residency

Connection and Collaboration are top of mind for the Chu Niikwän Artist Residency

We sat down with the team behind the Chu Niikwän Artist Residency to learn more about this new addition to Yukon artist opportunities.


How did this residency come to be?

The idea of this residency emerged out of a session that YAC held at the Old Fire Hall last fall with various Yukon artists. The participants requested more opportunities to collaborate and to increase the visibility and value placed on non-commercial visual arts. Bringing together the Yukon Arts Centre, Yukon Art Society and Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre to administer this project helped to broaden the audience and introduces a level of complexity, considering the different mandates of each organization.

This residency is very thematic around the Yukon River, can you talk more about that?

Working collaboratively is a major aspect of this residency. When we considered locations where the partnering organizations could host the residencies, the river was the obvious connection. Having each of the residencies within walking distance of one another creates more opportunities to speak, share and collaborate.

Is this the first curatorial residency in the Yukon?

It’s not the first. The Yukon Art Society hosted a curatorial residency in 2013. But creating opportunities for emerging curators in the Yukon is something we should be paying attention to and offering. 

Why do you think it’s important to offer curatorial residencies as well as artistic residencies?

We need more curators in the Yukon and the North in general! Curation is a communication tool, an avenue of sharing, a way to support artists and to connect work within an art history framework. Curators are able to share a perspective, be an activist, imbue meaning and talk to a community. It was essential to include a role for an emerging curator within the Chu Niikwän residency program because it’s important for Yukoners to develop these skills and feel confident stepping into leadership roles. There are more opportunities to curate in the Yukon than people might think.

This is a paid residency! Can you expand on why that was an important aspect for the organizers?

It was very important to us to be able to offer the time and space for artist to take creative risks without having to consider financial penalties. Many professional and emerging artists work with the constant pressure to develop work for market and this residency was created in hope that artists would feel they had the time and resources to explore new techniques and expand their practice.

Anything else?


Art Explorations’ exhibit in the ATCO Electric Youth Gallery

Art Explorations’ exhibit in the ATCO Electric Youth Gallery

Jack Hulland Grade 1s in the ATCO Electric Youth Gallery

Jack Hulland Grade 1s in the ATCO Electric Youth Gallery

The opening reception for this exhibition will be on May 10th, 2018 from 4:00pm-5:30pm at the Yukon Arts Centre.