We are welcome to visit the Yukon Senator’s office in Ottawa, which has a homey feeling, adorned with art from the territory. The Honourable Daniel Lang or his assistant will happily show you artworks from the Yukon Permanent Art Collection on display in his office. Just give them a heads up a day or so in advance.
Even if you only have half an hour, it’s worth seeing the pieces they have on display. If you have a couple of hours, they can also set you up with a tour of the House of Commons, the Peace Tower, and the Library of Parliament.
Many other senators rent art from the Canada Council Art Bank. Senator Lang is the only one to feature art from his region on his office walls. He feels this art helps him represent the Yukon.
Last June, Peruvian ambassador José Bellina Acevedo enjoyed the works on display, observing that that both Peru and the Yukon have mountainous landscapes.
A painting by Yukon artist Mary Caesar, called “Tuch Ahda Stick Gambling at Coffee Lake,” hangs over the couch as you enter the office, its bright colours welcoming. Up close, the colour is laid on in stylized planes of light, particularly on people’s cheekbones. From a distance, this work is surprisingly photographic. Its subject matter celebrates the resurgence of First Nations traditions.
It is always exciting to see an original Ted Harrison in the flesh. Harrison’s “Flying South” hangs on the way into Senator Lang’s own office area.
You can see the brushstrokes in the areas of colour with the bead of black paint around them. White swans set against a black hill provide a high contrast focal point in colourful surroundings. Lime-yellow water flows through a blue and purple landscape. A family walks home to a purple-roofed cabin. Two ravens dance in front of their yellow dog. The cabin roof curves.
Two more paintings in the office feature cabins.
Ann-Marie Nehring painted the warmest winter painting I have ever seen. Blue snow drifts rest against a wall tent, with a stovepipe angling out. She has dry-brushed on the blue and white paint, over an orange ground, so that flecks of orange show through. The effect is cozy.
The senator’s office also features Jim Robb’s watercolour, “Glacier Creek Cabin.” The cabin’s roof of rusty hammered tins reveal bare trusses in places. Moss grows between the cracks. The background rocky slope behind, and willows and spruce all around, are executed in a flowing yet precise watercolour, as are the tints he fills the cabin with.
In Eugene Alfred’s “Raven’s Flight,” a raven’s face emerges from a human forehead. Its beak aligns with the man’s nose.
The figure in Keith Wolfe Smarch’s carving, called “Little Man Frontlet,” raises his hands and draws his knees to his chest. In yellow cedar with acrylic and abalone, it has heavy eyebrows and no hair, red lips.
Finally, Don Weir’s oil painting, called”Arctic Sunrise,” uses soft-edged colour in curving rhythms and receding lines to evoke both a shoreline and its serenity.
These works will be up at least until March of 2016.
You can contact the Senator’s office by phone (613) 947-4050 or by email email@example.com to let them know you’re coming.
You’ll have to go through a metal detector, but it’s not a big deal. Senator Lang’s office is open Monday to Friday.