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Artwork Wednesday: Landon Mackenzie

Artwork Wednesday: Landon Mackenzie

The Yukon Arts Centre would like to thank everyone who came out to celebrate the opening of Jim Robb’s Yukon and Locate: YAC Collection. The large turnout was a great testament to our community’s support and we could not be more grateful. In honour of the exciting showcase, we will be featuring a different artwork each Wednesday on the YAC Blog. What better way to begin than Cluny II: An Anniversary of a Yukon Summer Solstice the featured work on Locate exhibition posters, by Landon Mackenzie. This work is a great example of what the YAC permanent collection has to offer in terms of diversity and Canadian art.

Mackenzie was a regular summer resident the Yukon from 1977- 1983, her early work reflects the sum of her northern experience while living in wall tents and exploring areas from Keno City to Beaufort Sea. With the territory as her muse, Mackenzie depicts the harmonious relationship between the theme of local wildlife and motherhood throughout her Cluny series. The series combines her northern inspiration with the name of her first child, Cluny. It was in the Yukon that Mackenzie first learnt she was pregnant and began to confront the notion of becoming a mother.

Amongst bold brushwork, animal motifs are abstracted in a primitive style that compliments the raw colour palette of earthy tones found throughout this piece. The large dark central figure depicts a mother with her crescent back encompassing her feeding young. Cluny II is described as a departure piece that deals with the trauma of labour and new motherhood, using the vocabulary of northern creatures. In addition, Mackenzie chooses to portray solstice through a large golden planetary form that floats amidst a vibrant midnight summer sky that is familiar in the Yukon. The combination of which is very evocative, both in artistry and in magnitude. Cluny II measures 7 x 14 ft. in size, submerging its viewer in Mackenzie’s powerful composition. While the artist had stretched smaller canvases beforehand, in the weeks following the birth of her first child,  Mackenzie decided the size was not large enough to adequately express her experiences and thus used a doubled canvas.

Landon Mackenzie is currently based out of British Columbia, where she teaches at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.  Mackenzie pursued her undergraduate degree at NSCAD (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and masters at Concordia (Montreal, Quebec).

Gallery Intern Gabriella stands next to Cluny II: An Anniversary of a Yukon Summer Solstice the large-scale work of Landon Mackenzie.


Landon Mackenzie
Cluny II: An Anniversary of a Yukon Summer Solstice, 1983
Acrylic on canvas

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)


Happy Aboriginal Day! Gallery and Box Office closed

Happy Aboriginal Day! Gallery and Box Office closed
image: "Artist and Musicians" - Jim Logan, Yukon Arts Centre Permanent Collection

Please Note that the Yukon Arts Centre will be closed on Thursday, June 21st for Aboriginal Day.

Our Box Office and Galleries will reopen on Friday, June 22nd at 10am. Tickets are available online (here!) or at Arts Underground.

This year, National Aboriginal  Day in the Yukon is truly momentous with the opening of Da Kų Cultural Centre in Haines Junction and the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse!   We hope you are able to get out and celebrate!

Here is a note from the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre:

Don't forget: everyone is welcome to join the drumming procession that will kick off our Grand Opening!

Meet in Rotary Park by 10am, and join drummers and dancers as you walk along the waterfront trail, and then welcome the arrival of the "Spirit of Awakening" canoe at the Cultural Centre!

A great way to get here, and be a part of our Grand Opening celebrations!

About the artist:

Jim Logan began his art career by painting social statement pieces from his own experience as a lay minister in the Kwanlin Dün community in  Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. The most important work from this period was a series entitled "A Requiem for Our Children", which described existence within the Residential School system in Canada. Other noted pieces were the National Pastimes series in the exhibition, INDIGENA which commented on Canadian apathy toward the hardship and poverty of the Native community in Canada.

Jim Logan is a founding member and captain of the Metis Art Council, former co-chair of the Society of Canadian Artists of Native Ancestry (SCNA) and a recipient of the British Columbia Aboriginal Arts Award and two Canada Council Awards. Jim Logan currently works for the Canada Council of the Arts as a Visual Arts Section Officer.

Nunavut’s Culture on Cloth: Traditional Inuit Wall Hangings from Baker Lake

Nunavut’s Culture on Cloth: Traditional Inuit Wall Hangings from Baker Lake

The Inuit women of Baker Lake possess a timeless skills of needle work that is truly reflected in this exhibition. Through bright fabric and colorful threading, the pieces open a whole new light on the lives and culture that reside in Nunavut.
The show is made up of 20 hand stitched pieces from the south central area of the territory.

This piece is entitled Tundra by Ruth Qualliarialik Nuilliak. Once entering the gallery this wonderful quilt like patch work jumps out to great you from the purple wall.  The colors are pastel and very gentle providing a lovely contrast against the furious purple.


Miriam Qiyuk's Snowy Owls is a playful piece. The 6 owls when closely examined, have an amazing amount of off-white detailing along their wings and a softer peach detailing on their torso. One cannot help but smile at the cock-headed little guy in the middle of the bottom row.


The North by Fanny Auvitute is a perfect example of the skill these women have.  Upon first glance I personally believed that the 3 diamond patterned boarders were a patterned fabric. It was only when I was able to closely examine the piece did i realize all the small details were hand stitched - I was simply blown away.

The exhibition, curated by honorary board member of the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association Judith Varney-Burch, had opened on Thursday June 7th to a wonderful attendance and will stay until August 25th.

Dan Sokolowski shows us the Degrees of North

Dan Sokolowski shows us the Degrees of North

Dan Sokolowski has crafted a beautiful film, Degrees North, taking viewers to places all over Canada--landscapes, waterscapes, airscapes, escapes. 

He's now created an installation you have to see to experience. 

STUDIO THEATRE installation: Degrees North

Dividing up his film into three distinct themes: air, earth and water---he's placed those images from the film on three separate screens that surround the viewer.  Feel free to sit on the bench in the middle, or walk around the outside of this installation and touch the sheets/screens.  Also, feel free to stand up and block part of the image with your own shadow.  Dan says, "It puts you in the picture!" 

I find it peaceful and creatively stimulating.  Sit there and relax and wherever you turn your head you see landscapes of the north, of Canada. 

Come see this highly interactive installation now.  It's only up till Sunday.  Sponsored by YFS and YAC.