Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas


Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas is an award-winning visual contemporary artist and author. His work has been seen in public spaces, museums, galleries and private collections across North America, Europe Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Institutional collections include the British Museum, Vancouver Art Gallery, Seattle Art Museum, Calgary's Glenbow Museum and Vancouver's Museum of Anthropology. His large sculptural works are part of the public art collection of the City of Vancouver, City of Kamloops and University of British Columbia. Yahgulanaas' publications include national bestsellers Flight of the Hummingbird and RED, a Haida Manga.

Yahgulanaas became a full-time artist after many decades working in the Haida Nation's successful campaign to protect its biocultural diversity; however, he began to play as an artist much earlier. As the descendant of iconic artists Isabella Edenshaw, Charles Edenshaw and Delores Churchill, his early training was under exceptional creators and master carvers of talented lineage. It wasn't until the late 1990's after an exposure to Chinese brush techniques, under the tutelage of Cantonese master Cai Ben Kwan, that he consciously began to merge Haida and Asian artistic influences into his self-taught practice, and innovated the art form called "Haida Manga."

Haida Manga blends North Pacific Indigenous iconographies and framelines with the graphic dynamism of Asian manga. Haida Manga is committed to hybridity as a positive force that opens a third space for critical engagement. It offers an empowering and playful way of viewing and engaging with social issues as it seeks participation, dialogue, reflection and action.

Yahgulanaas' visual practice encompasses a variety of different art forms including large-scale public art projects, mixed media sculptures and canvases, re-purposed automobile parts, acrylics, watercolours, ink drawings, ceramics and illustrated publications. Exploring themes of identity, environmentalism and the human condition he uses art to communicate a world view that while particular to Haida Gwaii - his ancestral North Pacific archipelago - is also relevant to a contemporary and internationally-engaged audience.

Influenced by both the tradition of Haida iconography and contemporary Asian visual culture, Yahgulanaas has created an artistic practice that is celebrated for its vitality and originality.