Blog / Archives / January 2013

Where are the Queers in History? AGOKWE and the ARTTALK: Queer Creative Leadership in the Arts

Where are the Queers in History? AGOKWE and the ARTTALK: Queer Creative Leadership in the Arts

“Within the typical secondary school curriculum,  homosexuals  do not exist.   They are ‘nonpersons’ in the finest Stalinist sense. They have fought no battles, held no offices, explored nowhere, written no literature, built nothing, invented nothing and solved no equations.  The lesson to the heterosexual student is abundantly clear: homosexuals do nothing of consequence. To the homosexual student, the message has even greater power: no one who has ever felt as you do has done anything worth mentioning.”
                                                                                                                                                                                    -Gerald Unks, editor, The Gay Teen, p. 5. From Famous Gay People.

LGBT + folks, or the queer community, weren’t always considered the edge of society, or nonpersons of history.  At many points in history, being gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, queer, was celebrated, and queer people had positions of power and importance in communities, given that they lived somewhere in the middle of genders, sometimes believed to be encompassing both genders, or being “two-spirited”.  They were spiritual leaders, political leaders, warriors, advisors, prominent in their communities--- whether that was early Celtic or First Nations people, or early Europeans—they were there—leading, helping, guiding.  And then something changed and queer folks hid their identities, their stories, to survive.

But you might have heard of some of them: Alexander the Great, Emperor Hadrian, Sappho, King Richard the Lionhearted, Julius and Augustus Caesar, Aristotle, Socrates, Erasmus, King James of the King James Bible, Christina of Sweden, Virginia Woolf, Eleanor Roosevelt, Queen Anne, Marie Antoinette, Margaret Fuller, and more modern names like Dag Hammerskjold (UN Secretary), Josephine Baker, Isadora Duncan, Frida Cahlo, Ellen Degeneres, Sir Ian McKellan, Gene Robinson, Mary Glasspool, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Raymond Burr, Rudolf Valentino, Montgomery Clift, Tab Hunter or George Takei.  And don’t get me started in literature—I could design an entire semester's syllabus for an American Literature class that would include many of the (American) greats and nobody would question that I covered the important authors.  

These are the recorded names, but many more from the LGBT community have contributed to history who weren’t recorded, but who were an integral part of their society.  How important are these stories—these people—to our society?  Are they a part of EVERY person’s story in some way?  How can we encourage our LGBT youth to take leadership roles in today’s society—and how can we help society encourage LGBT youth to see themselves with just as much potential for leadership as any person?

In conjunction with AGOKWE, the Dora Award winning play from Waawaate Fobister  (details below), please join us for a panel discussion on Queer Creative Leadership in the Arts discussing the history of LGBT people in leadership, First Nation leadership as well as general leadership, in society, but especially in the Arts---at the OLD FIRE HALL, SATURDAY, JAN 26, 3pm.  This talk features:

Erin Corbett
Often focusing on gender roles and sexuality, Corbett uses video and visual arts to explore the whimsy of queer theory. Her works have been shown in Whitehorse, Vancouver, Montreal and China.

Waawaate Fobister
An award-winning actor and playwright. In 2009, his production of Agokwe — a one-man play which he wrote and starred in — won six Dora Awards. He is also a choreographer, dancer and producer. A proud Anishnaabe from Grassy Narrows First Nation, he is a graduate and winner of the Distinguished Performance — Male award from Humber College’s Theatre Performance Program. Agokwe is presented by Naki Pivot Festival and the Yukon Arts Centre on January 25.

Duane Gastant' Aucoin
An award winning 2-Spirited Tlingit/Acadian Performing Artist from Teslin, Yukon. One of the early pioneers of the 2-Spirited Arts Movement he celebrates this year the 10th anniversary of "Children of the Rainbow" which won the Audience Favourite Award at the 2003 Vancouver Queer Film Festival. He is currently his Yanyeidi Clans representative on the Teslin Tlingit Executive Council and a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Jerome Stueart
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer. His work has been heard on CBC and published in Geist, Strange Horizons, Fantasy, and various anthologies and magazines. He earned his PhD at Texas Tech University in English and teaches a Writing Faith Workshop at the Whitehorse United Church. His gay Christian resource page, Talking Dog, gives churches and individuals ways to work through the coming out process. He is working on his first novel.

For more information, contact Jessica 393 7109 or gallery (at) yac (dot) ca

This ArtTalk is being offered in conjunction with AGOKWE, Waawaate Fobister’s play about “gay love on the rez”—that earned him 6 coveted DORA Awards!   Come see Agokwe either Friday, JAN 25 or Sat JAN 26 at 8pm.

Agokwe—meaning “two- spirited”—is Waawaate Fobister’s tale of social isolation, lost traditions, and a community struggling to redefine itself wrapped in a queer love story about two teenage boys from neighbouring reserves, an all nation hockey tournament, and Nanabush, the trickster.
Please note: some mature content
Agokwe is part of Nakai Theatre’s Pivot Festival happening this week.
Tickets are still available to see AGOKWE while it’s here—only two nights.  Call 667-8574, our box office, or go by Arts Underground, or online at to get tickets.

Agokwe is sponsored in part by BURNT TOAST CAFÉ and EDGWATER HOTEL. And is a Northwestel Art Lovers Series event!

Thank you to all our sponsors! 

Community Gallery Exhibit: Guerilla Photography for Social Change

Community Gallery Exhibit: Guerilla Photography for Social Change

What are your hopes for the community?

That's what the Yukon Anti Poverty Coallition wants to know for their current exhibit, on display until January 26, 2013

As part of the Poverty and Homelessness Action Week, October 2012, members of the community were asked to share
their voices and images and explore issues around poverty and homelessness; we asked what their hope was for the
future of the community.

Many thanks to those who participated: Kathy Bailey, Chris Devilliers, Wilf Morriseau, Robert Russell, Stan Gillingwater,
Doug Wykeham-Martin, Megan Johns, Michael Dobson, Richard Gage, Peter Joyes, Lacey Bailey and Cheyanne.

Thank you to Salvation Army for opening their doors to us.

And, thanks to Mark Kelly and Paul Gowdie for their continued support and work on this project.
Finally, thank you, to PSAC North for providing the funding to produce this publication.

We want to know your thoughts.  Please share your own hopes for the community on the board in the gallery.

Here's what you've hoped for so far. 

A bigger sense of community
That we learn the rights, tradition and language.  We already lost so much. It's unbelievable - C.J. 16 years old
Better Health/Fitness
Helping others, those who are in need. A person who they can trust. You never know what happens behind closed doors. 
Respect, caring and love for humanity.
Healthy self-esteem and happiness.
More feelings of connection – self, others, community
Youth being mentored and contributing to solutions for their future
Respect for those with less
Equality and Peace
Safe, Affordable Housing for All
A community of equality, where the youth is being taught about the truths of the world, where children, our future, are being given the tools and the hope, the courage and the peace they crave to live in.  A world of love, hard work and respect.  A community of sharing and compassion, so that our people, us, are brought to a living level of happiness and self-accomplishments – Mimi

Free Film Screening: Portrait of Resistance the art and activism of Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge

Free Film Screening: Portrait of Resistance the art and activism of Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge

As the wealth-divide and environment crises grip public awareness, the world is finally catching up to the vision and ideas of two artists who have been working for social change since the mid ’70s.
Inspired by their visual innovations and feisty wit, Portrait of Resistance intimately captures Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge as they create provocative staged photographs - about the environment, the rights of workers and the current global financial crisis.

“essential viewing” - Toronto Star
“visually arresting” - Canadian Art
“an absolute joy to watch” - Our Times

Presented by Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery and PSAC Regional Youth Committee, in conjunction with the exhibition Recent Works by Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge now on display at the Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery until January 26, 2013.

Meet the Artists: Free School Tour February 8

Meet the Artists: Free School Tour February 8

I'm pleased to announce the exciting opportunity for students to meet our artists Louis Couturier, Jacky Georges Lafargue, and Don Weir on February 8th.

Mr Couturier and Mr Lafrague will be available to give tours in French to secondary students.

Don Weir will be available to give tours in English to middle school and secondary students.

Resolute Bay: Daytime Journey into Night
Curated by Picardy Museum (France), Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Art
Resolute Bay is a series of multimedia installations created in collaboration with residents of the second northernmost community in Nunavut. Facilitated by the artistic duo of Montreal-based Jacky Georges Lafargue and Paris-based Louis Couturier, the show investigates the psychic effects of physical displacement and emphasizes the creative potential of community groups living in isolated and sometimes harsh physical environments.

Louis Couturier and Jacky Georges Lafargue, are Franco-Canadian artists based in Montreal. They have been working together for the past twenty years. Their work combines esthetics and communication with a community, with its history and personal identity, which they observe by studying the places in which members of that community lead their lives; and combines esthetics with the filming of the daily activity of the inhabitants whose personal experiences they have recorded. Their humanistic approach is founded on communication, exchange, observation, and privileges photography and video techniques to record reality.

An Ephemeral Light: Don Weir
Curated by Mary Bradshaw
Atlin based artist, Don Weir, will also be available to meet with students to discuss his exhibition An Ephemeral Light as well as his inspiration and career as an artist.
The minimalist canvasses in this exhibition are an exploration of the emotional experience that light evokes in the human spirit in its purest form. Weir’s journey as an artist has been exploring and distilling the aesthetics of the visual experience down to its most basic form. Here he attempts to understand how beauty and the intensity of the visual experience give depth and meaning to our lives.


If you’d like more information you can preview our upcoming exhibits and educational opportunities on our website just scroll down to Gallery Tours.

To book a tour, please contact Jessica 867 393 7109 or gallery (at) yac (dot) ca.  Tours are always free and funding for transportation may be available
Thank you!