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Yukon Prize for Visual Arts names six finalists

Amy Ball, Krystle Silverfox, Sho Sho “Belelige” Esquiro, Veronica Verkley, Ken Anderson, and Joseph Tisiga are the six Yukon Prize for Visual arts finalists
Clockwise from top left: Amy Ball, Krystle Silverfox, Sho Sho “Belelige” Esquiro, Joseph Tisiga, Ken Anderson and Veronica Verkley. These are the finalists selected for the Yukon Prize for Visual Arts. (Photo submitted by Yukon Arts) Centre.

Six finalists have been named for the Yukon Prize for Visual Arts.

Ken Anderson, a born and raised Yukoner of Tlingit and Scandinavian ancestry, is one finalist. Anderson, a carver, honed his craft through the years by attending carving symposiums, festivals and workshops. Anderson works with wood, metal, stone and snow.

Amy Ball, another finalist, is a visual artist born in Dawson City. Ball works in several mediums including performance, installation, text, print making and film making. She is the founding member of the community arts collective Local Field School and the studio collective Jimmy’s Place and is employed at the Yukon School of Visual Arts.

Sho Sho “Belelige” Esquiro is of Kaska Dena, Cree and Scottish descent. Esquiro is a contemporary artist using traditional techniques to create textiles that have been shown in museums across North America. Learning to sew at a young age, Esquiro uses new and repurposed fur and leather and “an aesthetic to use rich natural fibres along with 24 K gold, Platinum, porcupine quills, beads, embroidery and dentalium.

Krystle Silverfox is a Northern Tutchone visual artist living in New Westminster, British Columbia. Silverfox’s artistic practice explores different materials, methodologies and symbols to create conceptual works. Silverfox is passionate about Indigenous feminism, trans-nationalism, de-colonialism and social justice.

Joseph Tisiga is a member of the Kaska Dena Nation. Tisiga maintains a multidisciplinary practice that is rooted in painting and drawing and includes performance, photography, sculpture and installation. His work reflects “notions of identity and what contributes to this construct”.

Veronica Verkley is a sculptor and media artist based near Dawson City. Verkley’s work shifts between installation, animation and kinetics. Their work is “ethereal, organic and focused on animal forms and gestures.”

The Yukon Prize for Visual Arts is a biennial award that recognizes excellence by Yukon artists. It will provide $20,000 to one of the six finalists to help them focus full-time on creating art.

The other five finalists will get $2,000.

One-hundred and seven Yukon artists applied for the open competition which closed on March 31.

The finalists were chosen by a panel of three distinguished art professionals from Outside the territory. The jury was Ryan Doherty, chief curator of Contemporary Calgary; Candice Hopkins, an independent curator, writer and researcher; and Gaëtane Verna, director of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto.

The Yukon Prize is a partnership of the co-founders Julie Jai and David Trick, the Yukon Arts Foundation, the Yukon Arts Centre and a team of dedicated volunteers.

“A special thank you to all 107 artists who have applied to the Yukon Prize,” said Jai. “Collectively they demonstrate the breadth of talent in the Yukon and Yukon’s wonderful ability to develop and attract talented and creative people.”

Trick said the goal of the Yukon Prize is to have the territory’s artists get the national and international recognition they deserve.

“We want to help place Yukon art firmly into the national dialogue about art and increase awareness of the exceptional talent of Yukon artists,” said Trick.

The six finalists will be included in a curated group exhibition in Whitehorse at the Yukon Arts Centre Gallery opening on Sept. 18.

A gala event to announce the top prize winner and celebrate Yukon visual arts is planned for Nov. 19-21 in Whitehorse.

Contact John Tonin at