Yukon Artist Selected to Create 2020 Arctic Winter Games Cauldron

Yukon metalworks artist Brian Walker will build the Cauldron for the 2020 Arctic Winter Games (AWG).

Walker was chosen from a number of artists who submitted an Expression of Interest to the AWG Host Society. Partnering with his son, Justin Smith, he plans to create the cauldron out of heavy gauge copper with large copper rivets.

“We received several excellent submissions, and Brian’s vision for the Cauldron really impressed the selection committee,” says George Arcand, President of the 2020 Arctic Winter Games Host Society. “We’re excited to get the design process underway, and to collaborate with Brian over the next several months in creating a real legacy art piece for Whitehorse and for the Yukon.”

Walker, who has a metalworks exhibit running at the Yukon Arts Centre through August, says the Cauldron will be created out of the material that has been his main focus artistically for over 20 years. He estimates it will weigh 35 to 40 pounds.

“With copper’s long history of use in the Yukon going back at least 1,500 years, there are traditions and stories about copper that are important, especially for Yukon First Nations.”

Walker explains that a design developed among First Nations over time culminated in the creation of what is commonly called a “copper”, thought to represent an ancient form of human being with head, shoulders, backbone and ribs.

“These coppers large and small came to represent wealth – the wealth that is humanity itself, especially children. Another connection with wealth is that copper is thought to be a reflection of the flesh of salmon – the wealth of food and sustenance.”

The Cauldron will be lit at the Arctic Winter Games Opening Ceremony in Whitehorse March 15, and featured as part of the Games throughout the week. It will then become a permanent art piece displayed somewhere in the city.

The 2020 AWG will be held March 15-21, with 2,000 participants from nine contingents across the Circumpolar North making their way to Whitehorse.

NOTE: Brian Walker and his wife, Anne Smith, will be giving an Artist Talk at the Yukon Arts Centre at 1:00 pm on Sunday, June 30.