This Year’s Yukon Prize for Visual Arts

The 2023 edition of the Yukon Prize has been launched, with a jury of three arts professionals

Following the success of the inaugural Yukon Prize for Visual Arts, in 2021, the Yukon Prize committee has launched a 2023 edition of the privately funded award, which will see one outstanding Yukon artist take home a $20,000 prize. Five other short-listed finalists will each receive a $2,000 prize.

The recipient of the 2023 Yukon Prize for Visual Arts will be selected by a team of three jurors—all notable Canadian arts professionals. The jurors are Dr. Heather Igloliorte, an Inuk from Nunatsiavut, University Research Chair in Circumpolar Indigenous Arts at Concordia University (in Montreal) and Coordinating Producer for the 2022 Arctic Arts Summit; Michelle Jacques, Head of Exhibitions and Collections/Chief Curator of the Remai Modern gallery (in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) and former Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; and Sarah Milroy, Chief Curator of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection (in Kleinburg, Ontario) and former Chief Art Critic for the Globe and Mail.

“I am honoured to be included on the Yukon Prize Jury,” said Igloliorte. “As a northerner myself, I understand what the recognition and value of such a prize means to individual artists from the Yukon who historically have not had the same kinds of access to opportunities as artists working in southern urban centers.”

Both of Igloliorte’s fellow jurors expressed a shared excitement to have been selected for this jury. “Having participated in many national visual art juries in the past, I am well aware of the creativity and talent that defines the Yukon arts community and feel incredibly fortunate to be able to connect to the work of a wide array of the region’s artists through this opportunity,” said Jacques, with Milroy adding, “I am thrilled to learn more about this beautiful region of Canada and its artists. The landscape of creativity in our country is truly spectacular. I am honoured to help shed more light on the work made in the Yukon.”

The Yukon Prize aims to recognize excellence by Yukon visual artists whose work demonstrates technical proficiency and reflects a unique artistic voice in theme, method or practice. The prize’s main goals are to help the winning artist focus full-time on creating art or advancing their artistic development, to promote Yukon art and Yukon artists outside of the Yukon and to foster a culture of curatorial critique and discourse in the Yukon. The prize is open to Yukon artists working in any medium.

In May 2023, the jury will choose the long-list of finalists. This is the first time there will be a long-list for the Yukon prize. Following that, a short-list of six finalists will be announced in June. The three jurors will travel to Whitehorse for the weekend of September 15–17, 2023, to select the winner. A celebratory event will be held that weekend to announce the winner and to honour Yukon visual arts and artists. All six finalists will be included in a curated group exhibition, in Whitehorse, at the Yukon Arts Centre Gallery from September to November 2023. 

The first Yukon Prize winner was Joseph Tisiga. The other 2021 Yukon Prize finalists were Ken Anderson (Khàtinas.àxh), Amy Ball, Krystle Silverfox, Sho Sho “Belelige” Esquiro and Veronica Verkley.

A statement from Julie Jai and David Trick, Co-Founders of the Yukon Prize for Visual Arts, reads: “We are thrilled that these distinguished arts professionals have agreed to serve on the 2023 Yukon Prize jury. It’s a wonderful opportunity for Yukon artists to have their work seen by three prominent Canadian curators. We want the Yukon Prize to help bring Yukon art into the national dialogue about art and give Yukon artists the recognition that they deserve.”
The prize is presented in partnership with the Yukon Arts Foundation, the Yukon Arts Centre and a dedicated team of volunteers. To learn more, check out the Yukon Prize website at www.yukonprize.ca.

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