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Yukon artist’s work featured in national exhibit

Nicole Favron named as Yukon winner for 2020 BMO Art! competition
Yukon School of Visual Arts graduate Nicole Favron, winner in the 2020 BMO 1st Art! competition, has been included in a national exhibit being displayed by the University of Toronto’s Art Museum. (Submitted)

Yukon School of Visual Arts graduate Nicole Favron’s work is now part of a national exhibit being displayed by the University of Toronto’s Art Museum.

Favron has been named as the Yukon winner in the 2020 BMO 1st Art! competition for her video entitled 5.5 hours of shovelling so I can walk in the path of a moose.

As a regional winner, Favron has been awarded $7,500 with her piece displayed as part of an exhibit featuring the winning pieces from across the country. Due to COVID-19, that exhibit is a virtual show at hosted by the Art Museum from Sept. 16 to Oct. 17.

“It’s exciting. It’s really reaffirming,” Favron said in a Sept. 21 interview.

Favron’s one-minute, 50-second video features Favron walking along a three-foot deep path dug over the course of two days following the track of moose, which moved much easier through the same terrain.

As Favron stated of the piece on the exhibit site: “In a performance done in late January 2020, I shovelled out a path paralleling the tracks of a moose. The path took 5.5 hours of work over the course of two days. I spent 2.5 hours shovelling at -45 degrees Celsius on the first day, and three hours shovelling at -35 degrees Celsius on the next day. For this project the process was especially important because it’s where the meaning is found. The idea of an animal being able to walk easily through snow that is three feet deep is impressive. I wanted to translate my awe of this achievement by trying to create something impressive myself.”

Favron said the piece came together from an assignment for a performance piece in a four-dimensional studio class at SOVA.

Inspired by artist Simon Beck, who creates snow art using entire fields, when Favron saw moose tracks outside her Dawson home she knew she had something to work with and came up with her piece.

The shovelling took a little longer than planned, but given the cold temperatures the snow was fairly light and she was able to get into a rhythm as she shovelled out the three-foot-wide path.

As Favron gets set to move to Whitehorse this winter, she’s excited to be inspired by her new space and get to work on some new projects as she continues her art career.

She’s also considering applying to art schools Outside for the 2021 year.

Other award-winning pieces in the BMO 1st Art! competition showcase a range of subjects from multiculturalism to pushing boundaries and more.

The award is handed out annually with one recipient being named from each province or territory along with one national winner.

The annual competition invites deans and instructors from 110 undergraduate art programs across the country to nominate three students to submit a recent work. A panel of jurors selected this year’s winners from a total of 295 submissions.

Among those submissions were works featuring video, film, audio, and computer technologies, drawing, printmaking, photography, painting, sculpture, glass, ceramics, textiles, mixed media and installation works.

“We are thrilled to spotlight these remarkable artists as they transition from art school to art practice,” said Dawn Cain, curator of the BMO Art Collection. “In moving the exhibition to a virtual format we are able to share these innovative and timely works with new audiences in Canada and beyond.”

Simone Elizabeth Saunders was named the national winner for her hand-tufted and punch-needled piece It Matters.

As stated on the exhibit site: “It Matters engages upon a search for belonging, accompanied by an influence of current ideologies and a connection to a Black history. The COVID-19 pandemic has eradicated social normativity, further isolating marginalized communities and resulting in amplified racial biases toward Black and Brown people. This hand-tufted portrait of a Black civilian in a western society is rendered in a colourful patchwork, focusing on the quality and importance of Black life (matters). Connected to the global diaspora of a Black community, it is created from a craft that is rigorous and tactile. Viewers are encouraged to contemplate identity and to realize the foundational concept of aiding in racial emancipation.”

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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