Kaylyn Baker announced as recipient of Yukon Prize for Visible Arts

Ora Sawyers

Kaylyn Baker did not know what to say on Sept. 16 when she was introduced as the recipient of the $20,000 Yukon Prize for Visible Arts. The audience in attendance for the announcement definitely did, nevertheless. The complete Yukon Arts Centre (YAC) stood to cheer for Baker, a Northern Tutchone and Tlingit artist and a citizen of Selkirk First Country.

She is the second recipient of the bi-annual prize, which was proven in 2021 by Julie Jai and David Trick.

Baker was 1 of six finalists up for the prize this 12 months. Get the job done from all six artists is at this time on display in the principal gallery at YAC till Nov. 18.

“We equally understood [Kaylyn] a very little little bit from ahead of she used,” Trick instructed the Information on Sept. 19.

Jai stated she satisfied Baker 9 several years back, around the time Baker to start with started beading. Baker was at the Adäka Cultural Festival with her mom, artist Charlene Baker.

“I was tremendous impressed by the get the job done they have been executing,” mentioned Jai. “I appeared at it, and I believed, ‘Wow, this is like taking Yukon common beading, but taking it to a whole new level’ […] I believed she would be another person to check out.”

The jury for the Yukon Prize agreed.

This calendar year, the jury was built up of Sarah Milroy, chief curator at the McMichael Canadian Art Selection in Kleinburg, Ontario Heather Igloliorte, the university study chair in circumpolar Indigenous arts at Concordia University in Montreal and Michelle Jacques, now the head of exhibitions and collections and main curator at Remai Fashionable in Saskatoon.

In a statement emailed to the Information on Sept. 19, Milroy mentioned Baker’s get the job done touched all three jurors.

“Both because of her pretty much devotional motivation to making, and simply because of the way she embeds personalized historical past, story and position in her artwork,” the assertion read. “She is certainly a youthful a person to look at, and we ended up thrilled to have this opportunity to help her on her way.”

Jai and Trick hope the prize funds will make it possible for Baker to continue to thrust her artistry. Jai mentioned it can be challenging, when you make industrial do the job like Baker’s cuffs and earrings, to consider a break from earning the parts that pay out the expenditures and emphasis on developing her eyesight as a result of perform like what is presently on display screen at YAC — operate that was the final result of a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

“I’m so psyched to see what she’ll do,” Jai explained.

She’s also energized to keep an eye on the five runners-up for the prize. They include things like Dawson Metropolis artists Jeffrey Langille and Rebekah Miller Cole Pauls, a Tahltan artist and Champagne and Aishihik citizen from Haines Junction and Whitehorse artists Omar Reyna and Alainnah Whachell. Each of the finalists obtained $3,000.

This shortlist was whittled down previously this calendar year from a long record that incorporated Yukon artists Justin Apperley, Robyn McLeod, Meshell Melvin, Jackie Olson, Nicole Rayburn and Rosemary Scanlon.

All six finalists were in attendance at the gala function. The night featured meals, champagne and performances from Matthew Lien, the Kwanlin Dághàłaan K’e Dancers, and Bria Rose N’ Thorns.

It was the finale to 3 times of arts programming linked with the prize. There was an opening for the Yukon prize exhibition at YAC on Sept. 14 an artwork crawl by way of 19 arts venues and galleries in Whitehorse on Sept. 15 and a collection of panels, excursions and workshops right before the gala on Sept. 16.

This was the first yr the prize was capable to be celebrated effectively. COVID-19 limits in its inaugural calendar year, 2021, meant occasions experienced to be cancelled, and the announcement was scaled again. For the reason that Yukoners had no prior encounter with prize festivities, Trick and Jai stated they did not know what form of quantities the gatherings would appeal to. However, attendance was high all week, culminating in a lot more than 200 individuals at the gala.

“The intention for this calendar year, in addition to the prize, was to have a Yukon Prize weekend that would be substantial and attract quite a few individuals,” mentioned Trick. “Big enough to attract people today from Outdoors [including Michelle LaVallee, director of Indigenous ways and decolonization with the National Gallery of Canada, who did attend]. Speaking personally, I could not be happier with how it’s worked out.”

Baker was not readily available for an job interview prior to this story went to print.

Get in touch with Amy Kenny at [email protected]

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