The Craft Project

Meditating on Canada and Art


Recently I applied to be an artist for the Canada C3 expedition, a Canada 150 project that will circumnavigate Canada this summer from coast to coast to coast via the Northwest Passage.

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.

Amber Church – C3 Application Video 2017 from Tyler Kuhn on Vimeo.

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.


  1. Donald Moar

    Good stuff Amber – I am also one of the 485 or so Canada C3 ‘rejects’. Just to let you know, of the 14 artists that I have discovered who were selected, only 2 were from somewhere other than Ontario or Quebec …and they were both from Vancouver. Seven of the 14 are photographers – only 2 are painters.

    Living in Edmonton, I initially had reservations about applying to the project because the Canada Council was in charge of the selections – the CC is notorious for not supporting artists beyond central Canada. I decided to give it a chance – plus, I figured that I would ‘stand out’ when it came to the journey participants if I wasn’t one of the chosen few artists.

    Unfortunately, it appears that my initial fears were exactly what has happened. Please don’t get me wrong, most of the 14 artists that made the final cut create interesting works – I just wish that the selections had been spread around in a similar way that the way the Youth Ambassadors were …after spending countless hours online checking out application videos and websites from fellow artists who applied, there were some very talented artists from regions other than central Canada that were passed over. Perhaps we should organize a few shows of art from the ‘rejects’?

    All the best,

    Donald Moar.

    ps. By the way, a very cute kid. Mine are still somewhat cute but much much taller now.

    • Hey Donald.

      I think it be amazing to organize shows of the “rejects”. Bringing such a diverse set of artists from around the country together to collaborate on a project would be fabulous – an also a very cool offshoot legacy of C3.

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