Blog / Archives / February 2014

Al’s trip to Ottawa

Al’s trip to Ottawa

Thursday, 06 Februray
Ottawa, light snow

Whitehorse/Yellowknife/Ottawa – Air North’s inaugural flight, it was a great.  A trip of just over 6 hours certainly beats the 12 hour slog via Vancouver on Air Canada, and we got real food!  It was an entertaining flight with Boyd Benjamin and Kevin Barr providing tunes on departure and arrival.  The arts take flight in Yukon!Sunrise approaching Yellowknife

Air North threw a big reception in the arrivals lounge in Ottawa with food and entertainment.  Yukoners know how to party.  I had a chance to say "Hi!" to Minister Taylor, MP Ryan Leef and several others there to celebrate the flight.  I couldn’t stay around for all of the celebrations as I had to get downtown to catch Kim’s Convenience at the National Arts Centre.

The play, written by Ins Choi was first presented at the Toronto Fringe Festival where it won the new play contest.  The Soulpepper theatre company then picked up the piece for further development, presented it in Toronto, and now it is on tour across the country.  Following Ottawa it will be presented in Winnipeg (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre) and Vancouver (Arts Club Theatre).

The author Ins Choi writes from the heart, his family emigrated from Korea and lived above his uncle’s convenience store.  The cast of five delivers his story with sensitivity and humour.  Paul Sun-Hyung Lee portrays Appa the convenience store owner and patriarch with humour, kindness and understanding; Grace Lynn Kung is superb as his daughter Janet.

Choi originally wanted to do the work as a location specific piece in a convenience store, unfortunately that was not practical.  So the set is a highly realistic convenience store complete with coolers and counters, shelves and goods.  It is a big show to take on tour, so we not likely to bring it to Whitehorse.

If you happen to be in Vancouver between 24 April and 24 May this is a show well worth seeing.  It will be performing at the Arts Club on Granville Island.

Friday, 07 February
Chilly and grey
Magnetic North Theatre Festival meetings, but I did get the opportunity to watch part of the Olympic opening ceremonies on the giant screen in Confederation Park.

Saturday, 08 February
Sunny with snow, sun flurries
I spent the day in a meeting of the Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology.  In the evening I had the chance to see some of the snow sculptures done for Winterlude while trying to find a restaurant with room for a group of ten; Ottawa during Winterlude is a very busy town.  I can say, with regional pride, that sculptures at Rendezvous are of a higher quality.


Sunday, 09 February

I took in the matinee of This is War a new play by Hannah Moscovitch at the Great Canadian Theatre Company directed by Eric Coates. I am not a veteran of the Afgan, or any other conflict so I can’t speak to the plays authenticity by I can testify that it was very successful in delivering a powerful message about the permanent damage done to the young people who stand on guard for us.

Staged simply, three crates and light, the play follows four Canadian’s in a forward base for one night and a morning.  The events are presented through the hearts of each of protagonists in a series of dialogues and monologues.  The monologues give, as responses to the unheard questions of the press, the official story.  The dialogues retell the rest of the story.  It was a very effective technique that held our attention.  It even managed to make a statement about the heartlessness of the medias search for THE sound bite.

Post show, the audience had the low mummer that indicated that they had been deeply affected by what they heard and saw.  I noticed one young woman was being comforted by her escort and overheard that she had a brother on active duty. 

I had hoped to get to the National Gallery after the show but the timing of buses made that impossible.  Instead I had time to explore the amazing ice sculpture presented for Winterlude.  One of the finalist pieces was a full size crocodile by a sculpture from North Africa.

On my way to dinner I passed through the Ottawa municipal building and in the Karsh-Masson Gallery encountered a fascinating exhibit entitled Little Voices featuring HO scale dioramas by Patti Normand accompanied by text pieces by Lesley Buxton.  The tiny vignettes of Silent Falls captured moments of realism and fantasy that left me moved, but also left me giggling. As the brochure said it was a place “where the mundane and macabre intermingle”.  (Video below)


Meet the artist: Jane Isakson

Meet the artist: Jane Isakson

Born and raised in Alberta, Isakson left the sporting arena for the fine arts after representing Canada in two Olympic Games, (1992 and 1994) in the sport of Biathlon.  Completing her Fine Arts Degree at the University of Alberta, Isakson moved north to Whitehorse, where she has developed a painting practice that is rooted in the northern landscape that surrounds her.

Isakson’s exhibition “From the Outer Edges” is currently showing in YAC’s gallery until February 22nd, 2014.

1) What is the best/worst thing about being an artist?

The best thing about being an artist is the freedom to make your own schedule;  the hardest thing about being an artist is having no fixed schedule to follow.

2) How has your practice changed over time?

I began painting the landscape in a very straight forward manner - not particularly realistically, perhaps in a more expressionist manner, but gradually the paintings became more symbolic, looking to express more than the surface of the landscape.

3) Who are your favourite artists?

There are lots of artists that I admire, some of my favourites are Cezanne, Bonnard, Emily Carr, and John Koerner.

4) What are you working on now?

I participated in a three week residency on a tall ship in the Arctic Archepeligo of Spitzberben (Svalbard) this fall, and am currently at the Banff Centre for the Arts working on a body of work based on this experience.

For more information regarding the artist and her work, please visit her website

Community Gallery Exhibit: Ken Burke

Community Gallery Exhibit: Ken Burke

Ken Burke, is a local senior resident who took up painting after his retirement  in 1998.   His first piece of drawn work  was of a chair, completed in a class with Pat Ellis several years ago (Nov. 2005).  Ken is as a self taught artist, and  has gone on to  painting with oil paints after trying watercolours and acrylics.  Ken paints mainly landscapes of the Yukon and some other parts of Canada as well as creating his own landscapes.    

Ken  was encouraged by his wife and family to take up a  hobby to fill in his leisure time after  his retirement.  His  theory was to always believe  in yourself, that you can do anything you set your mind to.   So he made up his mind to try painting.  In 2012 he sent  a number of  paintings  out to his daughter in Calgary who arranged to have them sold in Edmonton.

Ken has been very active in volunteering with the senior organizations over the past ten years.   Who would believe that he  is having his first  "gallery showing" at the Community Art Gallery at the Yukon Art Centre  on February  5th.  The Opening Reception is on Friday February 7 from 4-6pm, light refreshments will be served.   Everyone is welcome to attend or view the gallery at your leisure during the month of February.     He paints under the pseudonym of  Mr. B .

Ken and Dorothy Burke