Artist CV attached as a pdf: Leslie Leong 2020
Here are some of the best things happening in my artist-world, from awards, exhibitions, gallery representation and other accolades:
Melt: Permafrost, climate change and hope
Currently I am working on the data collection phase for a visual art project about climate change, but also about hope.
In February, I collected permafrost (ethically) from Tuktoyuktuk, NWT, with residents James and Lucky Pokiak. I hauled it down to Whitehorse planning to melt it in the courtyard of the McBride Museum. When they closed due to Covid-19, I had to relocate the permafrost to my front yard.
I am documented the melt by time-lapse video, (thanks to Karine Genest & Kelsey Eliasson for tech. support). The original permafrost was measured and and weighed (485 lbs.). And I collected the remaining solid matter after the melt. (Images from this process can be found below).
To illustrate how little soil is under many communities in the circumpolar world, (whole communities will slump into the ocean as the Arctic warms), I plan to develop 3-D sculptural representations of the permafrost (100% size) for display with the pile of solid matter melted out of the permafrost, and the time lapse video. As can be seen in the community freezer 40 feet under Tuktoyuktuk, the community sits on permafrost composed of predominantly ice.
After an artist residency in Svalbard, I ended up back home with climate change depression. It was debilitating. Inflicting youth with this dis-ease was also weighing heavy on my mind. The path out of the depression was via the Japanese philosophy of golden repair, often symbolized by a broken teacup repaired with gold in the cracks. I concluded:
Climate change is here and happening, our planet is broken. It is now time to embrace the brokenness, slow further decline, and create something new and beautiful from that place.
This conclusion has begun to manifest itself in my work in the form of golden cracks.
To illustrate a broken planet and golden repair, I plan to lay golden material (temporarily) in wild, natural landscapes and photograph them. An example can be seen below “Golden Repair for Our Planet, Sept. 2019”
Eventually this work will evolve and be formulated into an exhibition. The work will include a collaborative aspect with award winning writer/poet, Joanna Lilley, who has visited the permafrost during the melt for creative inspiration.
Watch one of the three time-lapse videos of a piece of permafrost melting in a controlled environment:
Images of the resulting residue from melting small pieces of permafrost in a controlled environment:
Ubiquitous: Technology and the Human Experience, Yukon Arts Centre, Sept. 5 – Nov. 22, 2019.
Golden Repair for Our Planet, Sept. 2019
The Japanese have a philosophy, Kintsukuroi, often symbolized by a broken tea cup repaired with gold highlighting the cracks, making a new, beautiful artifact, yet honouring it’s fractured history.
Media Coverage: CBC Radio – A New Day with Elyn Jones, Sept. 20, 2019
Winning Design: Northlight Innovation Centre Bike Rack Designs 2019
Combining the Northlight logo and figurative motifs of Yukon’s environment:
Village of Haines Junction Public Art Project, 2018/2019
A team of artists, lead by Leslie Leong, developed designs for the Grand Hall in the convention centre. The $70,000 project resulted in 34 metal cut-outs mounted on the four walls of the 56 x 50 foot performance venue. About 1700 lbs. of 12-gauge steel were powder coated black and installed in April 2019.
Media Coverage: CBC-Yukon radio interview with Meagan Deuling, Whitehorse, Yukon, May 29, 2018.
Artist in Residence, Ted Harrison Retreat, Sept. through Nov. 2018
A 900 sq. ft. studio, plus a generous living space, looking over Crag Lake and Ted Harrison’s original Cabin. This beautiful remote setting has been so appreciated.
The time and space was important to process the experience of The Arctic Circle Program in the international waters of Svalbard, Norway, and my consequent climate change depression. My resolution is to embrace the fact that our planet is broken, look to a future, incorporating the flaws, and build something new and beautiful, like Kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of golden repair, symbolized by a repaired teacup with cracks filled with gold. As part of Culture Days, I hosted an artist talk, with a slide show on the expedition and a discussion of this resolution. A further Artist Talk was held late January. The 30-minute talk can be viewed online: Arctic Epiphany, Svalbard.
Media Coverage: CBC-North radio interview with Marc Winkler, Yellowknife, NWT, Sept. 29, 2018.
Broken, a test piece coming through this thinking is a response to a poem by Helen Knott, on exhibit until Oct. 31st 2019 in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, as part of the Words North Writing Festival. Thank you Helen Knott for sharing your untitled poem. And thank you Shohei Katayama and Adam Kuby, for laying golden emergency blankets in a glacial crack during The Arctic Circle Artist Residency expedition, June 2018. All three of you are inspirations.
The Ted Harrison Artist Retreat has also been important for my preparation for an exhibition in the main gallery of the Yukon Arts Centre. As well as work on the following project:
Precious: A textural exploration. Jewellery exhibition, Nov. 2018
Media Coverage: What’s Up Yukon, Nov. 14, 2018.
The Arctic Circle Residency, June 2018.
…on a tall ship exploring the waters around Svalbard, Norway. An incredible experience crossing the 80th parallel, with 29 artists and 13 crew observing glaciers calving, icebergs, walrus, polar bears, blue whales, and bird life in 24-hour daylight. I have started a gallery of images . An article in The Guardian includes a couple of my photos, written by fellow Artist in Residence, Rowan Moore. Sarah Hymas, another ship fellow, is presenting a paper with some of my insights, (as a circumpolar citizen), at the Citizens of Everywhere Postgraduate symposium, University of Liverpool, Centre for New and International Writing. I hope to post something when it is ready. And if you are interested, check out The Arctic Circle Program
Media Coverage: CBC-Yukon radio with Tara McCarthy, Whitehorse, Yukon, May 30, 2018.
Yukon Tourism Banner Art: Canada’s 150th Anniversary
Hanging throughout Yukon, the Canada 150th Anniversary Tourism banner was replicated from Leslie Leong’s original artwork: a linocut, 15×29 inches, printed with oil based ink, hand coloured with watercolour paint. The banner illustrates Yukon’s unique identity while recognizing its unity with, and contribution to, the rest of the country.
Check out more here for photos of the making of the artwork and the final banners in place.
SubARCCtic V Spring Residency 2017:
Leslie Leong orchestrated a two-week community art-build project in Yellowknife, NWT through the Yellowknife Artist Run Community Centre’s SubARCCtic V residency. Built from construction site 2×4″ off-cuts and reject lumber, a Great Slave Lake creature, named Ascuvus, has become part of the permanent collection of the Northern Frontier Visitors Association. The design and build involved two local schools, residents, tourists and contributing businesses – wow, Yellowknife is so awesome and generous!
Check out more here for a discussion of process and design, the completed sculpture and photos during the art-build project.
Winner of Cover Art Competition for Arts North Of Ordinary 2016/17 season:
Leslie Leong’s piece “Do Trees Have Memory at Midnight” won the Arts North of Ordinary Cover Competition for the 2016/17 season. Tara McCarthy wrote great article inside and you can read it here.
HRH Kate, Duchess of Cambridge receives Klondike Core necklace:
During Their Royal Highnesses’ tour of Canada, HRH Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge graciously accepted a gift of my Klondike Core necklace and shook my hand in Carcross, Yukon. See photos of the event are here, and the follow-up thank-you letter here. Since the core sample is actually a slice of Yukon bedrock, I felt it was the best souvenir I could possibly give to HRH Duchess of Cambridge.
If you want a necklace like hers, you can find it in my on-line store.
“Milk Maid” is presented in opening performance of Junction Artist Residency Gala Fashion Show.
The ball gown made from recycled milk jugs, is part of the opening performance of the Junction Artist Residency Gala Fashion Show in Haines Junction, Yukon. The gown was made during the summer artist residence workshop program, “Sewing Through the Landscape.” More images during the event with model, Lyn Fabio can be found here.
Milk Maid continues to be a feature display at “reDesign: the craft fair” held annually in November, featuring a collection of artisans embracing creative reuse by working with discarded and salvaged materials to make new products.
Beyond Focus: Exhibition of Abstract Photography
In this exhibition Leslie brings photography back into her art practice, as it is one of the mediums in which she holds a special skill. She has authored two photography books on the North and provided editorial and stock photos for countless books, magazines and advertising. In this exhibition, Leslie’s fascination with contrast, texture, pattern and form is evident.
You can view the Beyond Focus Exhibition on-line.
Created at the Canyon: plein air and exhibition
For two consecutive years Leslie was selected as one of the five demonstrating and exhibiting artists for the weekend en plein air event, Created in the Canyon and subsequent exhibition. One year Leslie created paper vessels and the other year, linocut prints.
Insidious: multi-disciplinary exhibition explores the insidious nature of technology
“As a torrent of bits and bytes reshapes the world around us, I wonder if we are awake or caught in a dream that could become a nightmare. Are we lucid enough to control this emerging technological force, or – for the sake of convenience and amusement – will we happily drown in a sea of bots, apps and lolcats?”
You can view the Insidious Exhibition on-line.
Media Coverage: What’s Up Yukon
Metal-Stone-Clay: an exhibition of natural textures represented in ceramics and metalsmith work
“My process begins with open creative play and experimentation. I explore texture in the natural world, often through photography. A cloud of textural ideas develops in my subconscious mind. When I sit down to create, months, years later, it comes back to me in my art forms.”
You can view the Metal-Stone-Clay Exhibition on-line.
Media Coverage: Yukon News
Shift: rethinking materials for use in many art forms
“Shift” named for it’s altered perspective on materials, reflection on the state of our society, the rethinking of stuff and our throw-away society, the remaking, reuse and recycling of stuff into art pieces that have a lasting quality in counter-action to designed obsolescence in today’s manufactured goods.
Rather than confining her creativity to any one medium, Leslie lets the material determine the medium, mixing of the technical with the creative in a variety of forms and media. From industrial design, or rather re-design, to abstract photographs, to jewellery using alternative materials, this exhibit may open minds to alternate possibilities.
You can view the Shift Exhibition on-line.
Blood-letting: a rite of purification / Mixed media installation
Blood-letting, a ceremonial act with the intent of creating a higher degree of consciousness.
“I am tired of us behaving like good little citizens in our industrialized society like cogs in a mechanized apparatus. I want people to think, to question, to live consciously. If nothing changes, then at least we have actively chosen the way things are, and we can only blame ourselves and the choices we make.
I suspect that if people truly question things, and make intentional choices, then they will be unable to live their lives in the same manner. They will become discontent with the status quo, be invigorated by what is possible, and work towards achieving that.
Inspired by the visual impact of “Flagellation Wall” by Austrian avant-garde artist, Herman Nitsch, the blood background expresses how I often feel about the world we, as humans, have created. It is the “blood of us” in sacrifice, to purge our human imperfections, and the pain and suffering they cause. In self-sacrifice, I have incorporated blood from my own veins into the background of each piece. It is an offering. The exhibit is an offering and a prayer for humanity to wake up and take note of what results from our menial, daily actions that we assume have no impact on the greater whole of humanity, of spirit, of creation, of the All.”
You can view the Blood-letting Exhibition on-line.
Various Other Media Coverage:
Crafty Types Take Trash, Make Treasures, Yukon News.
Zero Heroes, Zero Waste Yukon
Creative Collaboration, Yukon News
Down to Earth Gallery, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Yukon Artists at Work, Whitehorse, Yukon
Arts Underground, Whitehorse, Yukon