Buy Tickets
  • 7 min read

YAC brings new exhibit to your home

Heather Von Steinhagen, Paradise, 2020, wood panel, acrylic paint, glow powder, canvas, and resin, video projection, spray paint on wood 

Since the Yukon Arts Centre is closed to the public due to the COVID-19 virus, a video of its new exhibit, Emerging North, can be viewed below. The exhibit features eight Yukon artists and is curated by Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé. Artist’s names and descriptions of their work can be viewed below the video.

The closure is temporary and we will keep you updated when the gallery reopens so you can enjoy this amazing artwork in person. See artists’s statements and bios below video.


Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé – Curator

Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé (b. 1992) is a proud member of the White River First Nation of Beaver Creek, Yukon, Canada and Alaska. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology and a Minor in Indigenous Studies. Teresa is a full-time Upper Tanana visual artist and independent curator since 2018. Teresa is a member of the Yukon Arts Society and sits on the board of the Friends of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection as well as the Aboriginal Curational Collective.

Krystle Coughlin Silverfox 

Ets’edegél’ (Spear Game), 2020, cedar, acrylic paint, copperleaf 

Ets’edegél’ (Spear Game) explores the anticipation and presence found in Winter games. 16 spears in mid-flight represents the movement of the spears mid-throw, and the excitement of the moment. Ets’edegél’ is inspired by Dene spear games such as Snow Snake, and Hoop and Poke. 

Krystle is a Northern Tutchone from Selkirk First Nation. She is visual artist residing in New Westminster, BC. She holds a BFA in Visual Art (2015), a BA in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice from UBC (2013), and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Simon Fraser University. Her artistic practice explores different materials, methodologies and symbols to create conceptual works. She is inspired by Indigenous feminism, trans-nationalism, de-colonialism and activism. Her work often addresses contemporary issues faced by Indigenous identity politics and personal experiences.

Benjamin Gribben 

The Battle Between Octopus and Squid, 2017, yellow cedar, acrylic, sinew, courtesy of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection 

When I made the piece, it wasn’t from a story but a feeling and vision that it could be done. I’v[e] been carving for 10 years and in that time I’ve talked to other carvers and master carver who all had the same philosophy, do art that challenges you and try to find that uniqueness that make[s] it yours. That is what I did with this piece from start to finish. 

Diving Shark, 2011, yellow cedar, acrylic, abalone, black twine, courtesy of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection

This piece reflects a part of myself and how I feel about life and how I try to seize the day on a regular basis. 

Ben, a Tahltan from northern BC, moved to the Yukon in 2001. He is skilled in painting, carving and designing. Ben carves masks, paddles, panels, totems and dugout canoes.

Cole Pauls 

Pole Push, 2020

Knuckle Hop, 2020

Finger Pull, 2020

One Foot High Kick, 2020

Snowsnake, 2020

All artworks ink on paper

It’s an exciting school day when instructors and coaches visit to teach you about the Arctic Winter Games. That was my first introduction to the games. I remember going to gym class and discovering a One Foot High Kick target set up along with a bunch of other foreign sports equipment. We spent the class learning about the traditional games & experiencing them first hand. I remember slipping while trying to land gracefully after hitting the seal target.

I quickly learned how hard these sports were! After being invited to contribute to this group show, I quickly realized I wanted to create a series of 1 page comics highlighting specific Arctic & Dene games I grew up playing. Originally, I wanted these comics to explain all the rules of each sport, but I realized a lot of that information was dry and hard to illustrate in an interesting way. So these comics ended up becoming more descriptive of what these sports were, rather than the black & white facts on how to play them. For a full list of rules for each sport, visit the website. 

Cole is a Champagne & Ashihik citizen and Tahltan First Nation comic artist, illustrator and print maker hailing from Haines Junction, Yukon. He has a BFA in Illustration from Emily Carr University. Pauls currently resides in Vancouver, focusing on his two comic series. The first being Pizza Punks – a self-contained gag strip about punks eating pizza and the other being Dakwäkãda Warriors. In 2017, Pauls won Broken Pencil Magazine’s Best Comic and Best Zine of the year for Dakwäkãda Warriors ll.

Jeneen Frei Njootli 

Quake, 2013, silkscreen print, courtesy of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection

This work is part of a series that I have been working on since 2011 which takes on the form of print, photography, contemporary spirit, regalia, performance, video and installation. Quake shows a figure, in which appears to hover in space, with a halo of ricrac, engulfing the central image. It reads as a halo of confusion. The wood grain on her clothing calls to mind thoughts of home, especially home-scapes in northern communities, clad in wood wall paneling.

Resilience, tradition and vulnerability are represented by the broken hand holding onto a muskrat trap form. Ratting has and continues to be a strong part of Vuntut Gwitchin culture. The figure in the image also appeared a silk-screen print onto chipboard as a component of Thunderstruck: my first solo exhibition at Toronto’s Whippersnapper Gallery. The exhibition was co-presented by the Decolonial Aesthetics of the Americas Symposium. 

Jeneen is a Vuntut Gwich’in artist and founding member of the ReMatriate Collective. In her interdisciplinary practice she uses media such as performance, sound and textiles. Much of her work deconstructs the history of the materials she uses. She investigates their relationship to trade, cultural regalia and the politics of Indigenous art.

Kaylyn Baker 

1986, 2020, moose antler, oil paint, red fox fur, birch bark, sweet grass, abalone, bugle beads, 24 karat gold beads, caribou hair, embroidery 

When I read about recreating the torch (see image below) I immediately thought about using an antler to look like the flame and if I could combine that with some beadwork and red fox fur it would add to the effect. I knew I wanted a small blue detail near the centre to mimic that tiny blue flame you see when you’re watching the fire in the evening at fishcamp, sot that’s why I used the abalone.

I also knew I was going to use sweet grass from the start, I just had to figure out how to have it below the torch, which lead to the idea of mounting the antler to the wall. I used the birch bark because it was a natural curl and it would be sturdy enough to hold the weight of the sweet grass. This piece was an adventure from start to finish. 

Kaylyn is a Northern Tutchone and Tlingit artist of the Raven Clan and a citizen of Selkirk First Nation. She is an avid beader, creating vibrant, original designs on jewelry, mukluks, moccasins, purses and many other items. Kaylyn became interested in art at a young age inspired by her mother who studied art and taught her to bead. After a long break, she began beading again in 2014 and quickly became a prolific and innovative artist, experimenting with new techniques and patterns using hide, beads, porcupine quills antler, moose and caribou hair.

Heather Von Steinhagen 

Paradise, 2020, wood panel, acrylic paint, glow powder, canvas, and resin, video projection, spray paint on wood 

Endless sky, and breathtaking views – growing up in Whitehorse, Yukon was growing up in paradise. While the landscape seemingly remains untouched, I am aware of the exponential growth of population and industry. In creating Paradise I was thinking about the effects of industrial advancements and the toxic nature of the materials that I use in my artistic practice. Paradise is intended to engage, to investigate and to enjoy, much like Yukon’s natural supernatural landscape. 

Homegrown from Whitehorse, Yukon, Heather Steinhagen’s Northern small-town upbringing taught her the value of synchronicity with  the planet and her elements. With German and Cowessess Nation Cree roots, Heather realised her passion for the arts at a young age. She earned her Visual Arts Diploma at Vancouver Island University, where she was awarded the David Lambert Memorial Purchase Prize for ceramics (2013) and the Art & Design Faculty Award Visual Arts Diploma (2013).

Heather completed a BFA with Distinction in Community Art Education at Concordia University. She immerses herself in the art community and is continuously exhibiting her artwork national and internationally. Currently, Heather is the Executive Director of the Yukon Arts Society, a non-profit which operates Arts Underground.

Blake Shaá’koon Lepine

Arctic Winter Games, 2020, woodblock print, acrylic paint

Guardians Of The Portal, 2019, acrylic paint on birch door

Blake used the Arctic Winter Games logo as a symbol embedded into the body of the Raven figure. He wanted to create a copper effect with the paint he used. The colourful brushstrokes that lay upon the Raven are representative of various games. (Information provided by the artist)

Blake is a member of Carcross Tagish First Nation and grew up participating and celebrating in the Tlingit culture of this land base. Blending modern mediums with the ancient Tlingit art form to express the modern age is one of the primary focuses of his work.

Violet Gatensby 

Copper Arrows, 2020, wood, copper, feathers, acrylic paint, thread

Spirit of the Hunter, 2020, carved gunstock

He Never Went Hungry Again, 2020, woodburn on moose hide, fabric, thread

The wolf stayed true to his word and when he woke, there was two dead caribou, a gun and a bow and arrow across from him. He never went hungry again. 

Violet is a Tlingit artist from Carcross, Yukon. She took an interest in Northwest coast art in her early teens and decided to pursue it as a career. She got accepted into the Freda Diesing fine arts program located in Terrace, BC in 2015. While there, she was a recipient of the 2016 YVR youth scholarship award, a NWCC president’s award and had a piece of her work acquired into the Yukon Permanent Art Collection.