Graduation regalia exhibit going to London
Nov 09 2023
In collaboration between the Yukon Arts Centre and the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre a smaller selection of the Honouring Our Future: Yukon First Nations Graduation Regalia exhibition is set to embark on an international journey to the United Kingdom.
The exhibition will be hosted at Canada House in London, England, from June 13 to October 6, 2024. It will feature about 15 pieces of regalia from across the Yukon. A Yukon First Nations beadwork workshops will also be hosted at the esteemed Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, UK.
The popular exhibition has just finished its three-year Yukon tour including stops at Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre, Haa Shagóon Hídi, Da Kų Culture Centre, and Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre.
The annual Yukon First Nations high school graduation ceremony, which began in 1975, celebrates graduates who come in handmade regalia featuring local materials, intricate beadwork, and creative designs reflecting their heritage.
These regalia pieces, handcrafted by mothers, aunties, clan members, community matriarchs, and patriarchs, tell stories that resonate deeply with our communities. The effort and artistry that each graduate and their family have poured into each piece is a testament to the pride, support, and love that bind our communities together.
Led by Indigenous curator Lisa Dewhurst, the exhibition focuses on the artistry and the stories behind each piece. Entire communities came together to plan many of the dresses, vests, moccasins and more. Some pieces begun years in advance of a student’s graduation.
“Having the exhibit showcased in London is an amazing opportunity. This is a very special story; these beautiful pieces of art, and the stories of pride, love and support for the First Nation graduates by their families and communities, will truly shine in Canada House,” said Dewhurst.
“I am deeply honored to witness the international journey of our Honouring Our Future: Yukon First Nations Graduation Regalia exhibition. The regalia, meticulously handcrafted by Yukon First Nations, carries the stories of our people and the essence of our communities. I am immensely proud of the graduates who wear these regalia and the families who pour their love and support into each piece. This exhibition is a testament to the resilience, artistry, and unity of Yukon First Nations, and it's a privilege to share our heritage with the world,” added Grand Chief Peter Johnston, Council of Yukon First Nations.
“We are delighted to join hands with KDCC to illuminate the remarkable artistry from across our Territory to an international audience. Each piece of regalia encapsulates profound stories and deep cultural connections, serving as a beautiful reflection of the talented young graduates," said Mary Bradshaw, Yukon Arts Centre director of visual arts.