It must be a wild ride to work at the Yukon School of Visual Art (SOVA) in Dawson City. This year they had a student bring a horse into the gallery as part of an art project; another student made a set of musical instruments from a bunch of stuff; and many others dug deep into the shadows of their creativity to pull out bizarre and thought-provoking performance art pieces.
Curtis Collins, PhD, the chair and program director at SOVA, says a few students stood out this year and it’s been a pleasure to see what they came up with.
“What I’m seeing as a strength this year is students really pushing their artistic limits,” Collins says.
Collins is impressed with the set of instruments that Derian Blake made, which are functional sculptures. Collins has them on display in his office, with a soundtrack of music made with them.
Collins says artistic talent in performance art was strong with this year’s batch of students, particularly Isabel Ford and Andrée Belanger.
Ford, for example, did a performance that involved crawling through the hallway and into classrooms wearing garbage bags. And it was Belanger doing the aforementioned “horsing around.”
“Students have an opportunity to understand their identity here and to have that come out in a variety of creative ways,” Collins says. “In this case, it brings Andree’s artistic [drive], and her family history in rural areas, together.” Collins says the concept was about off-setting environments; bringing a non-gallery item into a gallery, thus creating questions about things we think we know, like the parameters of a gallery, of art, and, in this case, of horses. The exhibit showed that some horses like to showboat.
“There was hay in the corner of the gallery, and he (Romeo, the horse) would walk over to the corner and grab some hay, and then walk up to where the people were and look at us and chew,” Collins says. “The horse was a willing and happy participant.”
The SOVA Year-End Exhibition is on display until May 11 at the SOVA and ODD Galleries in Dawson City.