Nunavut Post

Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Skookum Jim Friendship Centre has found some antique First Nations art

Skookum Jim Friendship Centre

Key Takeaways:

  • Among the 183 pieces discovered are 28 works by well-known artist Carl Beam.
  • Griffis stated that the next step would be to determine the worth of each piece.

The Skookum Jim Friendship Centre staff were taken aback when they discovered 183 pieces of art in their basement, many of which were designed by well-known artists.

“This recent discovery has been a very welcome surprise during this year of significant hardship,” said Bill Griffis, executive director of the center, in a news release. The art was donated to the non-profit organization in Whitehorse in 1997, but it was lost over time as staff left.

Twenty-eight of the pieces discovered belonged to Carl Beam, a well-known contemporary artist. Stephen Snake and other Indigenous artists created the additional 155.

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“Each one of Beam’s art pieces has an appraisal certificate,” Griffis said. “Part of the process is determining what the value is now because we have a collection and it may have historical value.” A third of the remaining 155 also had appraisals from the late 1990s significant impact on the Canadian art market.

Skookum Jim Friendship Centre art; Image from Yukon Photos

Beam’s art is exciting because he is one of Canada’s most innovative Indigenous artists. He was a member of the M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. He was born in 1943 or died in 2005.

Beam had a significant influence on the Canadian art scene. His work, which included Plexiglass, canvas, and other media, sparked discussions about Canada’s Indigenous experience of injustice. Some of the nearly 200 pieces will be sold to the general public, while others will be sold to private galleries across Canada.

The sale is a fundraiser for the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre and Sundog Veggies Training Farm. Heather Finton, the owner of Sundog Veggies, stated that the organization is grateful for the opportunity to raise funds through found art.

“Not only is this artwork incredible and appropriate, but the way that some of these gifts will be available to the community to support the work Skookum it is just a privilege to be a part of these wondrous stories,” she said. Since 2020, the two organizations have provided a community lunch program that feeds several families in Whitehorse.

Source: CBC News

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