CBC Radio – As It Happens

Yukon Seasons - moose antlers and skull - 44x47x24in - 2003 - Shane Wilson

Yukon Seasons – moose antlers and skull – 44x47x24in – 2003

Barbara Budd, Co-Host:  Shane Wilson spent years carving the elaborately detailed sculpture of a moose skull and antlers that he called, ‘Yukon Seasons.’ He then presented the artwork as a gift to the City of Whitehorse, the community that had nurtured him as an artist. But apparently, someone wanted to nurture the sculpture itself, in private! Because last September it was stolen, in the dead of night from its home in the Canada Games Centre. Shane Wilson thought he’d never see ‘Yukon Seasons’ again. But today, the stolen antlers are back where they belong!

We reached Mr. Wilson at his home in Nanaimo, B.C.

Carol Off, Host, CBC - As It Happens

Carol Off, Host, CBC – As It Happens

Carol Off – Co-Host:  Mr. Wilson how did it feel when you found out that the RCMP had recovered your sculpture?

Shane Wilson, Sculptor:  I was totally thrilled. It was an amazing, out of the blue, kind of call. I hadn’t expected that it would ever be found. So when Laurel Parry, who’s the head of the Yukon Government Arts Branch, called to let me know that it was found I was just flabbergasted, stunned, but thrilled!

Carol Off:  Now they say that the Whitehorse Detachment of the RCMP said that a few days ago it had been brought in by an anonymous person, someone who was not involved with the theft. Do you know anything more than that?

Shane Wilson:  That’s all I know. And I’m completely grateful to whoever the anonymous person is because, without them, it would still be missing. 

Carol Off:  But the thief is still at large then?

Shane Wilson:  Well, I don’t know. I assume that that’s the case, since nothing further has been forthcoming in the news and that’s all I’ve heard.

Carol Off:  And do you know if the sculpture is intact? Was it damaged at all?

Shane Wilson:  At the time it was stolen, the thieves, when they were breaking it out of the display case, broke off one of the tines, which are the pointy bits of the moose antler, and it was left behind … and as far as Laurel can see that’s the only damage done, otherwise it’s intact.  She say it seems to be a darker colour, which means that maybe it was in a house where there was woodsmoke or cigarette smoke or maybe in a shed somewhere, I don’t know.

Carol Off:  Now it was the only thing that was stolen that day, is that correct?

Shane Wilson:  That’s what I understand, yeah.

Carol Off:  There were stealable things, I guess, that the thief or thieves could have walked away with?

Shane Wilson:  There was tons of stealable things: cash machines, art on the walls, god knows what else in the weight room … depending on what you wanted, the place was wide open!

Carol Off:  Do you think that it was targeted, that sculpture?

“Yukon Seasons is quite beautiful!” – Carol Off

Shane Wilson:  Well, that’s what they say. Unless I was able to speak with the thief myself, I wouldn’t really know, but the assumption is that it was a highly targeted theft. They understood that the window of opportunity was there, and they took it.

Carol Off:  I guess that’s kind of flattering, in a way?

Shane Wilson:  (Laugh) Yes. As I said at the time, the sense of loss was tremendous, but it was kind of a back-handed compliment. 

Carol Off:  What was your reaction when you learned that it was stolen?

Shane Wilson:  I was devastated, as anyone would be. In order to help your listeners understand, it was a carved moose antler and skull set which, if you know anything about moose, they’re the largest land animal in the Yukon, they’re huge, and the carving of it took about three years of my life. The intention was to have it displayed in perpetuity in the Yukon and that hope was dashed when the thief took off with it. So, anyone working on something for three years would be devastated if it was lost, I’m sure. 

Carol Off: The piece is called ‘Yukon Seasons’, right?

Shane Wilson: Yes.

Carol Off: Describe the imagery that’s carved into it. I’ve seen it on the internet. It’s quite beautiful!

Yukon Seasons on display - Canada Games Centre - Whitehorse, Yukon

Yukon Seasons on display – Canada Games Centre – Whitehorse, Yukon

Shane Wilson: Thank you. In order to understand, it’s about four feet high, but four feet wide by two feet deep and it a full moose antler and skull combination, in taxidermy terms it’s called a European mount, so the skull and antlers are all together. The entire piece is carved with the different seasons of the Yukon, represented by various animals and imagery. 

Carol Off: You’re living in Nanaimo now, you say? So are you going to go up and see Yukon Seasons, to see the sculpture and to see what happened to it?

Shane Wilson: Oh I’d love to at some point. I think I’m going back this summer and I’ll probably stop off and see it then.

Carol Off: And are you waiting to hear some news about who stole it, or do you care?

Shane Wilson: Personally, I’m just thrilled that it’s back, I mean, as an artist, when you create something, you put everything into it, you put yourself into it, and so it’s like a part of me has come back. I feel whole again. And that, for me, is the prize. The fact that it’s there for people in the Yukon and others who visit the Yukon to see, hopefully, in perpetuity. 

Carol Off: Well, it’s good news. 

Shane Wilson: Yeah it is, it’s great news!

Carol Off: Thanks for telling us about the sculpture. 

Shane Wilson: Thank you Carol, I appreciate your interest.

Carol Off: Bye Shane.

Shane Wilson: Okay, bye now.

Barbara Budd: Shane Wilson is a sculptor and we reached him at his home in Nanaimo, B.C.

 Sculpture featured: Yukon Seasons


Comments are closed.