Yellowknife’s Anonymous Art Show puts the talents of the city’s residents to the test on tiny canvases that you can pick up for $80.
The catch is you don’t know who painted your favourite piece until you buy it and collect it several days later. All the works are unsigned. Only a small, red sticker indicates whether a piece has been purchased or not.
On Thursday evening, dozens of residents toured the city’s Down to Earth Gallery to explore and acquire this year’s crop of more than 150 pieces. You can check them out until Sunday.
We picked out a few offerings to give you a flavour of the event. At least one of the below has a Cabin Radio connection, too. Which one(s), of course, we cannot reveal.
Canude (Unknown, 2022)
Who hasn’t portaged naked across a boreal fleshscape? Excellent leg technique being shown, allowing the portager to remain strong through the arms and balanced on an uneven if disconcertingly off-pink surface.
Snow Blobs: They look friendly (Unknown, 2022)
Pure terror. Look at the faces in the trees! Look at them! They don’t look friendly in the slightest, they look like they’re smiling knowingly and WHAT DO THEY KNOW THAT WE DON’T? Everyone beneath the trees seems entirely oblivious except the golden retriever and the husky, who appear to be exchanging the beginnings of a plan to fight back if the trees make the first move.
Plenty of Fish (Unknown, 2022)
Gorgeous colours, vibrant and bold lines, as beautiful as you could make fish on a six-by-six canvas. They all look like they went to a disappointing conference.
Tale of a Spruce (Unknown, 2022)
It’s not all about paint. It’s your canvas, do what you want with it. Not a talented painter? Use crafts instead. Got a nearby tree? Well, in case it turns sinister and develops an eerie face once some snow falls on it, strip that thing down right now and nail it to the wall! Voila.
Claimed (Unknown, 2022)
There is significant competition at this year’s Anonymous Art Show between people who like to paint red canoes and people who like to paint blue canoes. After a decision-making process that involved 11 people and a surprising amount of shouting, we have elected to bring you a red canoe.
It Never Gets Old (Unknown, 2022)
A wry yet powerful commentary on our times, in which the ball – a representation of the Earth – is gradually squeezed to oblivion in the crushing jaws of the dog, which serves as a canine manifestation of the climate apocalypse and unchecked sprawl of modern post-capitalism.
Church in Colville Lake (Unknown, 2022)
Not the only Colville Lake painting in the show! The Sahtu community is this year’s breakout hit. This one has shades of Bob Ross in the happy little trees to the left of the church. No eerie faces. Or wait… if you look closely enough… is there one?
Houseboat (Unknown, 2022)
Instantly warmer and more sensible than a houseboat, this textile depiction of a houseboat rapidly sold. In true houseboat fashion, one end is slightly more bedraggled and lopsided than the rest, a neat finishing touch.
Serenity & Chaos (Unknown, 2022)
A scintillatingly executed, high-concept piece that utilizes the ancient symbolism of yin and yang to depict a Yellowknife Christmas craft fair, five minutes before and five minutes after the doors open.
Beads of Memories (Unknown, 2022)
A rare and beautiful excursion for pointillism at this year’s show.
Winter Skies (Unknown, 2022)
“Can you see anything?”
“I thought I saw them a minute ago. Maybe over there?”
“No, that’s a cloud. You definitely said we’d get a lights show tonight.”
“They’ll probably come out later. If we stay up till 2am I bet you they’ll be amazing.”
“Well I’m going to bed.”
Oy Canada! (Unknown, 2022)
As yet unpurchased.