No Yukon art in National Gallery, official confirms

The National Gallery of Canada confirms that it does not have any paintings by Yukon artists in its permanent collection, something that one prominent Yukon painter said should change.

The National Gallery of Canada has confirmed that it does not have any paintings by Yukon artists in its permanent collection.

The issue of Yukon representation at the Ottawa gallery was raised this week by the biographer of Ted Harrison, whose bold, colourful northern-themed paintings have graced children's books and won accolades and awards.

Katherine Gibson, author of Ted Harrison: Painting Paradise, called the National Gallery's lack of Yukon artwork "a travesty" in an interview with CBC Radio on Tuesday.

"We do try to acquire works from all of the regions in Canada but sometimes it's just not that possible," National Gallery spokeswoman Joanne Charette told CBC News on Wednesday. "I think that the Yukon has very strong artists and that our curators are in contact with many, many of them."

However, Charette said she had never heard of Harrison before she was contacted by CBC News, nor could she name any of the Yukon artists she said gallery curators are in contact with.

Gibson said she hopes her biography of Harrison will raise his profile nationwide, perhaps even at the National Gallery.

Harrison and Gibson are set to launch Painting Paradise Wednesday evening at the Yukon Arts Centre.