Meet the Artists

KDFN Artists

Ann Smith

My name is Ann Smith, Ashea, I am of Tutchone and Tlingit and a member of the Wolf Clan. My home is in Whitehorse, Yukon. I have been weaving Raven’s Tail and Chilkat designs for regalia, robes, aprons, and bags for over two decades. I am a contemporary weaver whose work is based on traditional knowledge. I have travelled across Canada and around the world demonstrating my weaving and telling the stories connected to it. My work is included in galleries and museum exhibitions all over the world. One of my woven pieces was presented to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

Annie Smith

My name is Annie Smith. I am of Southern Tutchone ancestry and a citizen of Kwanlin Dün First Nation. I was born in 1925 in a fishing village on the east side of what is now called Schwatka Lake. In my early years I moved around the southern Yukon, living with my family at Marsh Lake, Klukshu and Carcross. I began selling my handmade dolls to tourists in Carcross when I was 14. Ever since I have worked as a sewer, passing on those traditions to my children, grandchildren, and many others. I enjoy cultural events around the territory showing my work and seeing other artists. My art is in collections throughout the Yukon.

Clifton Fred

My name is Clifton Fred and I was born at Whitehorse in 1967. I am a Tlingit of the Kwanlin Dün. My mother raised me with my siblings in town and at fish camp. My appreciation of a simple pencil and paper created my passion for drawing. I taught myself to draw – first animals and then portraits. The more I learned about my culture, the more I expressed myself with images. My father said, “You’ve captured people’s attention – to keep it, teach about your culture.” I began to write statements while drawing images that took up to 50 hours to complete. In this ever-changing world, we must preserve our bond with Earth Mother and her creatures in this experience we call ‘our lives’.

Duran Henry

Duran Henry is a Tlingit/Southern Tutchone member of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. He is a member of the Crow Clan.

He was born in 1983 and is the son of artist Ray Shorty and nephew to artists Richard, Jim and Eddie Shorty.

Duran has enjoyed drawing and painting from a young age. As a teenager, he took part in many art classes and workshops. Joining the Northern Cultural Expressions Society (formally Sundog Carving Studio) in 2006, he learned under the instruction of Tlingit carver Calvin Morberg. He has also studied under Lewis McKenna, William Callaghan, Victor Reese of BC, and totem carver, Sean Hinton of Chilliwack, BC.

Duran participated in Sundog’s Carving Our Path Program in 2006-2007, the Yukon First Nations Arts Festival in Whitehorse, 2008, as well as the Tlingit Gathering in Juneau Alaska, 2008. In more recent years, he has participated in the Dugout Canoe projects (2016/2017), and the annual Adaka Festival in Whitehorse, YT.

Duran now works primarily with wood, carving paddles, plaques, masks and panels. He currently uses basswood, yellow and red cedar for his creations. He likes to make his own designs using pencil and acrylic paints. He has started making prints, and has some of a bentwood box he designed and created.

Influenced by his father and uncles, Duran is committed to his career as an artist and carver. He is currently in the advanced course and teaching local youths in elementary and high school NCES programs. He enjoys listening to metal music and realism in other art forms. Duran has overcome many obstacles in life. His art has helped him through life and painful experiences.

Karen Bien

My name is Karen Bien and I am of Tlingit and Tutchone ancestry, born and raised in Whitehorse. I began sewing as a young girl, learning from many gifted family members. I love using colourful beads and traditional designs to craft artwork that includes both ancient and modern elements. In 2016 I worked with my sister Shirley to create beaded vests and octopus bags that were presented to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they visited the Yukon. I like to get together with Elders and other beaders to exchange ideas and techniques. My art has travelled all over the world through visitors that come to the Yukon.

Mark Preston

I am Mark Preston and my Tlingit name is Tenna-Tsa-Teh ~ meaning "man who owns all the copper in the land" or "master of the copper". I was born in Dawson City, Yukon of Tlingit and Irish ancestry. Presently I live and work in Whitehorse. I learned about my Tlingit ancestry from family stories and through school study. I studied the art of European masters such as Leonardo da Vinci. Later I discovered notable Indigenous master artists Bill Reid, Robert Davidson, Roy Vickers and others. I have worked in various artistic media including paper, cloth, wood, metals, and stone. I studied silversmithing with renowned master jeweller and carver Phil Janze of the Gitskan Nation at Hazelton, B.C. Most recently I started working with my designs on glass.

Sean Smith, Victoria Fred, Sabrina Fred

Sean Smith, Victoria Fred and Sabrina Fred are all members of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation in Whitehorse. They are devoted to preserving their Inland Tlingit and Tutchone heritage, proudly wearing their regalia and participating in many arts and cultural activities. They all drum, sing and dance ensuring the languages, songs and beats of their ancestors live on to enrich all future generations.

TKC Artists

Nakhela (Hazel) Bunbury

My name is Nakhela “Hazel” Bunbury and I am of the Wolf Clan and of Southern Tutchone and Tagish descent. I attended residential school for eight years but never forgot my language. Later I taught Southern Tutchone in schools. I’ve seen many changes in Whitehorse. In the 1940s there were wooden sidewalks, a few small stores, cafés, hotels, the Old Log Church, RCMP detachment, school and hospital. There weren’t many cars - mainly steamboats, dog teams, bush planes and the train. My grandfather, Frankie Jim, supplied wood for the steamboats. I learned our traditional culture from my grandparents at summer fish camps on the Yukon River, at Lake Laberge and Fox Lake where we prepared food for the winter. I still teach children to catch and dry salmon, passing down our ways as they were passed on to me.

Jared Kane

My name is Jared Kane. I am a member of the Crow clan and citizen of Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. Born and raised in Whitehorse, I spent time in Haines Junction and Klukshu learning traditional values. My early artistic inspiration came from my quadriplegic grandfather Harvey Kane, known for his unique computer generated designs. I earned a First Nations Fine Arts diploma at The Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art and completed the Carving Our Path and advanced Journey Far programs with Northern Cultural Expressions Society in Whitehorse. I like to work with Raven and other designs to create masks, panels, plaques, signs, and paddles and I also teach art in Yukon schools.

Dawn Krijgsman

My name is Dawn Krijgsman and I am a member of the Wolf Clan of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, Jenny La Barge Traditional Family. I grew up in Canada and learned traditional quilting with my Grandma Lucy Kufeldt in Alberta. Later I studied art at the Alberta College of Art and Design and landscape design at Western Washington University. I love nature and wildlife and I work in mixed media producing Art Quilts to capture people’s memories with textiles. I taught Art Quilt methods in the Netherlands and a baby quilt workshop in Whitehorse. Currently I live in the Netherlands but I stay connected to my roots in the Yukon.

Gail Anderson and Will Jones

Elder Gail Anderson and Will Jones are proud members of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. They are descendants of the late Elders Rachel and George Dawson, who were renowned for their devotion to preserving their culture through art, storytelling, singing, drumming and dance. Gail continues her grandmother’s tradition as a sewer. Will is an artist specializing in jewellery. Both travelled to the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 to dance at the Aboriginal Pavillion and they are dedicated to passing on their culture to coming generations.