Lesley Leong next to the tail end (no pun intended) of 'Ascuvus'. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/Moose FM.)
It’s not uncommon for kids to tell stories about Ol’ Slavey, the sometimes terrifying creature of Yellowknife Bay. Now, a Yukon artist has taken those stories and is turning them into a work of art.
The Yellowknife Artist Run Community Centre (YK ARCC) is helping support a residency for artist Leslie Leong and her art project that takes tales written by local students to create a three-part wood sculpture.
“I thought, ‘I don’t want to drop into town with my preconceived ideas, I want to see what the kids here have for ideas of what a Yellowknife Bay creature might look like’,” explained Leong.
Leong is a former NWT resident, having lived in Fort Smith for 15 years. She said she wanted the project to be linked to the capital city.
“I really wanted to have it linked to here – I mean it should be, it’s a Yellowknife Bay creature,” she said.
Leong enlisted the help of fourth graders from Range Lake North School and the K’àlemì Dene School’s art class for the project.
Students wrote her short stories about the creature, describing its appearance and how it got there.
Some suggestions from students on what Ol’ Slavey looks like?
While some said it can turn itself invisible, others described it as being 17ft tall with big red eyes and not one but two shark fins.
Its diet could consist of anything from pike to diamonds and other treasures.
“I noticed that they all think that it eats people, except for one,” Leong joked. “One said that it was friendly and that it laid its head on the lap of a woman. It was very cute.”
The sculpture, named ‘Ascuvus’ by one Range Lake student, is currently being built outside the Down to Earth Gallery. It’s made out of off-cuts of wood from construction sites being stacked together.
Once finished, it’ll appear at the SubARCCtic exhibit at the Snowking’s Winter Festival next week. The tail-end can currently be seen outside the NWT Brewing Company.