Thieves boost moose sculpture from Games centre

Picasso, Van Gogh, Munch and Rembrandt: they have all had their art stolen. Now sculptor Shane Wilson can add his name to the list.

Picasso, Van Gogh, Munch and Rembrandt: they have all had their art stolen. Now sculptor Shane Wilson can add his name to the list.

“As an artist, when your art is stolen for the first time, I guess it means you’ve arrived,” said Wilson.

Wilson’s sculpture — a full moose skull and antler carving worth about $50,000 — was stolen from a display case in the Canada Games Centre on Saturday morning.

Titled Yukon Seasons, the sculpture was donated to the Yukon Permanent Art Collection and placed in the centre in 2006.

Wilson considers it a masterpiece.

The thieves walked past a bank machine and some other art without taking it, so they must really have wanted this piece, he said

“It’s a strange, backhanded compliment,” said Wilson.

The thief broke through the centre’s front door sometime between when it closed and when the RCMP was contacted at around 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

The city has security cameras in the centre, and they have been reviewed.

However, a power failure on Saturday resulted in the loss of about an hour of film, said Whitehorse parks and recreation manager Linda Rapp.

The city believes it has narrowed down the window of opportunity for the theft to about an hour, but the footage is dark, she said.

“It’s odd,” she said. “It doesn’t appear to be random vandalism. Nothing was taken and or damaged other than the sculpture’s display case.

“We’ve haven’t even had one single incident of vandalism on the artwork at the centre. This is quite a shock.”

Intricate pictures of wildlife were painstakingly carved into the large antlers over three years, said Wilson in an interview from his car near his new home in Nanaimo.

“I don’t think there’s anything like it, anywhere,” he said. “No two antlers are the same. You can’t make another one.”

If money was a motivation, the one-of-a-kind piece will be hard to sell.

“My guess it that it was taken because someone wanted it, not because they could sell it,” said Wilson. “I don’t think a pawnshop would deal with that.”

More importantly, Wilson laments the loss of the piece because of who the sculpture was dedicated to.

The sculpture was dedicated to Ruth McCullough for work in fostering visual and fine arts in the Yukon.

She also was someone who helped Wilson, who spent more than 20 years in the Yukon before moving to BC get his start in the art scene.

Anyone with information on the break-in or whereabouts of the sculpture is asked to call Whitehorse RCMP or Crime Stoppers.

Calls are anonymous.

“If anyone can help, that’d be great,” said Wilson. “It would be nice to have the sculpture back.”