The Main Gallery at the Yukon Arts Centre opened on Monday for the 40th exhibition of the Permanent Art Collection.
This year’s exhibit, titled Collective Memory, celebrates the last four decades with all of the changes, evolutions and developments seen in the territory’s artistic community.
Garnet Muething, the art curator for the Department of Tourism and Culture, said there’s a wide variety of artistic mediums, from beadwork to carvings, sculptures, large canvases and more.
“For the first time, we’re showing more than 20 new acquisitions to the collection that haven’t been shown before. So, people get to see these brand new pieces alongside pieces that have been collected since the early 1980s,” she said.
The Permanent Art Collection was founded in 1981 to preserve, honour and share the visual artwork by local artists.
With the new acquisitions, the collection now has more than 500 works by 275 artists, most of which are Yukoners.
“We also have artists who have either had an encounter with the North or come and spent time here,” explained Muething.
The collection also includes a range of artists, from established talent to people who are in early stages of their careers.
A few pieces from this year’s new acquisition list come from artists never featured before like Cécile Girard from the Association Franco-Yukonnaise (AFY).
In 2017, for Canada’s 150th, Girard and the AFY created De fil en histoire, a community project that recreated, in the form of dolls, the Francophone characters who marked the history of the territory.
“When we started the project we didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but they were so beautiful we wanted to keep them together,” said Girard who moved to the Yukon four-decades ago.
The 14 dolls include characters from the Gold Rush and other historic moments and they will now be preserved permanently at the collection.
“These dolls celebrate the history of the French community and the French history here in the Yukon, so to know that it’s in the permanent art collection has a really beautiful meaning to me and I’m sure for the community, too,” said Girard.
Although the Permanent Art Collection includes hundreds of pieces, Muething the art curator, said only one third of the art is on display at all times. That includes about 80 pieces at the Main Gallery, a few in the communities across Yukon, and the others are stored in a climate-controlled storage vault at the Yukon Art Centre.
“This is a really unique opportunity to see this much of the collection because normally we’re able to curate smaller pieces of it,” said Muething.
The Collective Memory exhibition will be open to the public until Feb. 25, 2022.