Kaylyn Baker didn’t know what to say on Sept. 16 when she was introduced as the recipient of the $20,000 Yukon Prize for Visual Arts. The audience in attendance for the announcement definitely did, while. The whole Yukon Arts Centre (YAC) stood to cheer for Baker, a Northern Tutchone and Tlingit artist and a citizen of Selkirk Initially Country.
She is the second receiver of the bi-once-a-year prize, which was set up in 2021 by Julie Jai and David Trick.
Baker was 1 of 6 finalists up for the prize this 12 months. Operate from all 6 artists is at the moment on screen in the primary gallery at YAC until eventually Nov. 18.
“We each knew [Kaylyn] a little little bit from in advance of she used,” Trick told the News on Sept. 19.
Jai reported she fulfilled Baker nine decades in the past, all-around the time Baker initial started beading. Baker was at the Adäka Cultural Competition with her mother, artist Charlene Baker.
“I was tremendous amazed by the do the job they had been accomplishing,” said Jai. “I looked at it, and I assumed, ‘Wow, this is like using Yukon conventional beading, but having it to a complete new level’ […] I assumed she would be a person to observe.”
The jury for the Yukon Prize agreed.
This yr, the jury was created up of Sarah Milroy, chief curator at the McMichael Canadian Art Assortment in Kleinburg, Ontario Heather Igloliorte, the college research chair in circumpolar Indigenous arts at Concordia University in Montreal and Michelle Jacques, at present the head of exhibitions and collections and main curator at Remai Modern in Saskatoon.
In a assertion emailed to the News on Sept. 19, Milroy claimed Baker’s operate touched all three jurors.
“Both mainly because of her pretty much devotional motivation to creating, and due to the fact of the way she embeds own background, tale and spot in her art,” the assertion go through. “She is certainly a younger one particular to look at, and we have been thrilled to have this option to assistance her on her way.”
Jai and Trick hope the prize cash will make it possible for Baker to continue to thrust her artistry. Jai claimed it can be difficult, when you make commercial perform like Baker’s cuffs and earrings, to just take a split from creating the items that pay back the bills and emphasis on establishing her eyesight by do the job like what’s at the moment on display at YAC — do the job that was the final result of a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.
“I’m so energized to see what she’ll do,” Jai said.
She’s also enthusiastic to keep an eye on the five runners-up for the prize. They contain 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 individual of the finalists gained $3,000.
This shortlist was whittled down before this year from a lengthy list that integrated Yukon artists Justin Apperley, Robyn McLeod, Meshell Melvin, Jackie Olson, Nicole Rayburn and Rosemary Scanlon.
All six finalists have been in attendance at the gala occasion. The night highlighted food, champagne and performances from Matthew Lien, the Kwanlin Dághàłaan K’e Dancers, and Bria Rose N’ Thorns.
It was the finale to 3 days of arts programming connected with the prize. There was an opening for the Yukon prize exhibition at YAC on Sept. 14 an art crawl by way of 19 arts venues and galleries in Whitehorse on Sept. 15 and a series of panels, excursions and workshops in advance of the gala on Sept. 16.
This was the first 12 months the prize was capable to be celebrated properly. COVID-19 constraints in its inaugural 12 months, 2021, intended situations had to be cancelled, and the announcement was scaled back. Due to the fact Yukoners experienced no prior encounter with prize festivities, Trick and Jai said they didn’t know what sort of numbers the activities would entice. Nonetheless, attendance was substantial all week, culminating in far more than 200 persons at the gala.
“The aim for this yr, in addition to the prize, was to have a Yukon Prize weekend that would be substantial and bring in several persons,” explained Trick. “Big adequate to draw in folks from Exterior [including Michelle LaVallee, director of Indigenous ways and decolonization with the National Gallery of Canada, who did attend]. Talking individually, I couldn’t be happier with how it is labored out.”
Baker was not accessible for an interview just before this tale went to print.
Get in touch with Amy Kenny at [email protected]