KDFN Citizen and artist Teagyn Vallevand was recently a part of the Kluane Lake Artists Residency.

 By: Olivia Gatensby

You may know Teagyn Vallevand from her many projects around the Yukon, such as her work with Youth For Lateral Kindness – a joint project between herself and Aurora Hardy to address the effects of lateral violence. But these are far from her only impactful endeavors. Picture the glaciers at Kluane Lake, and imagine staying in that environment for weeks, guiding people through your artistic process. This is one of Teagyn’s most recent projects: the Kluane Artist Residency for Parks Canada, the Yukon Arts Centre, and the University of Alberta.

“Last Spring I saw that the Yukon Arts Centre was advertising for this Artist Residency for different parks here in the Yukon,” she explains about how she discovered the opportunity. “I didn’t realize, but it was a pretty intense process with over 50 applicants… but I got shortlisted, then eventually selected as one of the four chosen artists.”

This isn’t Teagyn’s first time doing this. She participated in the Shakat residency at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, as well as a similar program in Carcross. She noted that this most recent residency was a bit different from the others.

“My experience in previous events was that I would be set up in a spot where you can talk to people and sell your goods from 9 to 5 until it was time to go, but this one was a bit different. I was in a bunch of different locations throughout the event which was a special experience for me, says Teagyn.”

Highlights of her trip included staying in the Kluane Lake Research Station, touring the Dakų Cultural Centre and seeing their “living collection” of regalia which is available to be used for cultural endeavors, which she notes as being a particularly good experience, as she had previously only visited the cultural center for potlatches.

Teagyn says being out on the land is really good for her culturally. When she’s in the city, she feels it’s “like being a little raven next to the dumpster outside McDonalds just hanging out.” Compared to when she’s in nature, she feels like “a beautiful raven out on the land beside the highway.”

“It was very healing and nice to be out there,” says Teagyn about the residency.

She explains that an important part of the project was connecting science with art, feeling that “with science you’re presented with info and facts, but art makes you feel.

With this in mind she hosted art workshops, and worked on her own bigger art project.

Unfortunately, Teagyn is keeping the specific details about her art piece a secret to be revealed at a future date, but she was happy to explain the idea behind it as a sort of sneak peak.

“My original plan was to make a medicine bag based on the beautiful area I was in, but after being there and hearing from all of the people involved, my idea shifted,” says Teagyn. So now I want it to be a call to action based on my experience, and seeing how climate change affects the area… I want to connect science with art in a way that makes people feel that call to action.”

We look forward to seeing how Teagyn connects science with art when she finally unveils her project!