I wasn’t one of the lucky 15 artists chosen, although I’m in good company as 500 of us did apply. I found the application process a rewarding exercise on it’s own however – we were tasked with creating a two minute video introducing ourselves and explaining our interest in the program. The creation of this allowed me to meditate on my and my art’s relationship to the country and our natural and cultural treasures. It also proved a fun artistic process in its own right – I was loathe to simply create a “talking head video” (especially since I’m married to a professional filmmaker), so a set of art pieces got created to bring my video to life, including one full piece The Climb (a time-lapse of a portion of its creation is featured in the final piece). I thought I’d share it here in case any of you are interested.
I also thought I’d share with you the description of The Climb I wrote in my application:
The piece references the classic images of gold rushers climbing the Chilkoot Pass. The image features both gold rushers and Tlingit and Tagish people, who originally used the trail as a trade route. The sun forms a gold pan dipping into the river and the background text is drawn from Robert Service’s poem “The Men that Don’t Fit in” to further link to the gold rush history, while the rock formations include imagery of an Indigenous person hunting a mammoth and caribou with an atlatl to provide a visual link to “time immemorial”. So often the telling of Klondike gold rush history ignores the contributions of and impacts to the Yukon’s Indigenous peoples. While working on an Indigenous-led theatre creation project I was touched by one of our collaborator’s stories of her great-great-great grandmother packing on the Chilkoot and was inspired to reimagine the classic imagery with the First Nations leading the way.