January 2022 Newsletter

Thank you for your support for Yukon visual arts!  We are grateful for your encouragement, guidance and support which helped bring about the creation of the Yukon Prize.

Whether you volunteered your time, checked out the artists’ work, visited the website, made a donation, shared the good news about Yukon art with family and friends, wrote an article or a tweet, or purchased a ticket to the Gala Dinner that didn’t quite happen – you are helping to make Yukon artists as well known nationally and internationally as they deserve to be.  

We hope you enjoy this inaugural Yukon Prize Newsletter.  We intend to publish this several times a year and look forward to your input and feedback.

Yukon Prize Gala:
Celebrating Yukon Artists!

Finalists at Gala

Pivot has been the word of the hour during the COVID pandemic, and pivot we did when the Yukon government declared a state of emergency a week before the November 20th Yukon Prize gala awards ceremony. First, the planned six-course dinner had to be cancelled. Then the Yukon Arts Centre’s capacity was reduced to 25 people. With jurors, finalists, performers and stage crew, we were at 25. Fortunately, the ceremony could be live-streamed. Despite the lack of a live audience, it was a wonderful celebration of Yukon arts!

Read more about the Yukon Prize Inaugural Gala and pivoting in the age of COVID in our BLOG.

Yukon Prize 2021 Finalist’s Work

If you missed the livestream, you can watch an 8-minute video showcasing the work of the six finalists on the Yukon Prize YouTube channel.

Highlights from the Yukon Prize Weekend


The Yukon Prize Jury, Candice Hopkins, Ryan Doherty and Gaëtane Verna, chose six finalists from 107 applicants, and then flew to Whitehorse in November and selected Joseph Tisiga as the 2021 Yukon Prize Recipient.

Finalists on stage at the Gala

The jurors said that they had a very difficult time selecting the winner from amongst so many talented artists and spoke in detail about each of the finalists at the Gala.


The Gala was livestreamed and included performances by Yukon singer/songwriter Diyet and an original composition by violinist Amelia Rose Slobogean.

Yukon Prize in the News

We are grateful to all of the journalists and news media who have taken an interest in Yukon artists.  Here are some highlights from national media:

Leah Collins’ article for CBC Arts explains why it’s hard to be an artist in the Yukon.  The author spoke to the Yukon Prize finalists about how a new art prize can help.

The opening paragraphs of the Globe and Mail article on the Yukon Prize describe the intention behind Veronica Verkley’s interactive piece, “Suspended Animation” – as she comments on the things we can do collectively that we don’t do individually.   Watch a short video on our Instagram of this life-sized horse being animated by 10 audience members.

Art Canada Institute’s round-up of “this year’s most prestigious art prizes” features Joseph Tisiga and the Yukon Prize for Visual Arts, noting that Tisiga is acclaimed for his enigmatic, narrative-based art that blends together elements of material reality, the metaphysical, and the mythological.

Genesee Keevil profiles the work of the six Yukon Prize finalists in this piece for Galleries West.

News about the finalists

Sho Sho Esquiro has a solo show on now at the Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver.  Her show, Doctrine of Discovery, is curated by Miranda Belarde-Lewis. “This powerful and vital exhibition of contemporary fashion sheds an urgent light on the devastating impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery, an international law that falsely gave European settlers dominion over the lands and Indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere,” says Belarde-Lewis.
Veronica Verkley
Veronica Verkley has a lifelong fascination with animals. It influenced her art career early on, beginning with drawings and sculptures as a child and into her professional life today.  Read more in Art Vancouver’s profile of Veronica.

The Arctic Arts Summit, which will be in Whitehorse from June 27 – 29, recently profiled Ken Anderson whose thought provoking and beautifully executed carvings are rooted in Tlingit traditions.  Anderson has produced powerful commissioned sculptures, including a monument he designed in 2018 honouring former students of the Whitehorse Indian Mission School.

Arts Unite interviewed Amy Ball, who says that in this pandemic era she is focussing on nurturing. “That nurturing, when it comes to creativity, often looks like making work with others, focusing on being around other people, facilitating ways for groups to engage with each other, as opposed to the more solo artist mentality”.

Krystle Silverfox, a Northern Tuchone artist, spoke with Arts Unite about the influence of Indigenous feminism on her work, stating:

For me, Indigenous Feminism is the idea that there are multiple genders and gender roles within Indigenous cultures/societies that are different yet valued and upheld equally. As an Indigenous woman, this means respecting traditional women’s arts (such as beading, textiles) as a part of my own identity, and as a powerful tool of communication and community.”

Joseph Tisiga-2021 Yukon Prize recipient
Inaugural Yukon Prize Recipient Joseph Tisiga told the Yukon News: “I didn’t feel like I was competing against anybody there. I really love all the work that was there, all the artists that were finalists. There’s no competition. It’s all love and everybody’s doing great work.”

Many thanks to Mark Kelly, Julie Jai and Annie Kierans for the photos used in this newsletter.