Nicole Rayburn Yukon Prize icon 2023 Longlist

Artist Bio

I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, and despite hating winter, i live in Dawson City, a remote, cold, northern community in Yukon, Canada (did i mention cold?). I spend most of my time struggling with mental health issues, which i’ve recently started to blame on the capitalist system & overall fuckedup world, & this has been going well for me. As you will notice, i’m obsessed with pink and repetition and absurdity, all of which pair nicely with obsession. Most of what i make is shit. Witnesses to failed attempts at trying to find meaning or value or understanding of the world. What remains offered fleeting glimpses of clarity at some moment. I barely even remember of what now.

Artist Statement

My practice is a loud, blundering convergence of video, text, & still imagery, usually of naturey-things, and often involving swearing animals for some reason? Almost everything i 1 make is sweet, beautiful, perfect pink. I’m not entirely sure but suspect that the overarching theme of my work is that the world is fucked, the bees are all dying, & we are all going to burn. or maybe drown. or both. I bid you godspeed.

Nicole Rayburn, 2023

Photo by Jonathan Klynkramer

Nicole Rayburn, On the Sixth Night I Started to Dream in Flamingo, 2022

"on the sixth night i started to dream in flamingo"

2022, video, 1:16

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this is a story about the time i almost became a flamingo

video text:

i spent eight days watching them
or maybe we were watching each other
on the sixth night I started to dream in flamingo
after several nights of this I realized I had to leave.
hearing their personal disagreements & family dramas
felt private & weird that I was suddenly listening
it also caused me distress for some reason
that i was becoming flamingo or something
& the repercussions of this were rather unclear.
despite theorizing boundary transgression ad nauseum
i still wasn’t sure if i wanted to be a flamingo
but i’m still quite certain at what transpired there.
& even now I’m anxious it will happen again<

Nicole Rayburn, Your Brain is not Broken, 2022

"your brain is not broken"

2022, video animation, 0:16

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jus thinking about capitalism & pelicans & mental health & how the world is fucked. Your brain is not broken – the world is fucked.


Nicole Rayburn, Nobody Cares Work Harder, 2022

"nobody cares work harder"

2022, video, 0:35

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the world is burning & we’re all fucked nobody cares work harder jus thinking about bees & pollinators & fires & grind culture & fuck grind culture

Nicole Rayburn, this is all a dream, right? 2022

"this is all a dream, right?"

2022, video, 1:57

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what about new mythologies? tales of exploitation & consumption? this is all a dream right? filmed in Yukon on Vuntut Gwitchin land around the arctic circle & pigs in California

Nicole Rayburn, When they playin chess & think yer playin checkers, checkmate u utopian fuc, 2022

"when they playin chess & think yer playin checkers. checkmate u utopian fuc"

2022, acrylic on wood, 10″ x 10″

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sometimes it’s fun to imagine what it will be like when raccoons & other synanthropes rule the world. 

Nicole Rayburn, I'm fine it's fine everything's totally fine, 2022

"i'm fine it's fine everything's totally fine"

2023, 3′ x 3′, acrylic on wood

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let’s all just pretend some more (fuc)