Haida artist raising money for Ukraine after planned Kyiv exhibition derailed
Simon Little & Paul Johnson
April 17, 2022
A Haida artist is using his skills to raise money for the people of Ukraine after an art show he had planned in the capital city of Kyiv was derailed by the war against Russia.
Working from his North Vancouver studio, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas’ designs are inspired by Haida artwork and Japanese comic books, a mix he calls “Haida Manga.”
“The whole conversation around reconciliation has been simply because we have been unable to see ourselves as humans,” he told Global News.
“Haida Manga is an approach to find the human in the art.”
Among the pieces that were meant to be on display in Kyiv at an autumn exhibition was Kyiv Child, a bold and shimmering work presented on the hood of a ZAZ-AA03 Slavuta, a car manufactured in post-Soviet Ukraine.
The piece mimics a centuries-old stone carving on Kyiv’s St. Michael’s Cathedral, of a warrior carrying a spear on horseback.
Yahgulanaa’s composition substitutes the warrior for a mother and child, with the pair riding across a gilded plain of gold and silver leaf.
The artist still plans to show the piece in Kyiv one day, but “only when Ukraine is again a free country.”
Until then, he’s selling prints of the work for $500, with proceeds going to UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders’ projects in Ukraine.
Only 224 of the prints will be offered, the number reflecting the Feb. 24 date that Russia launched its invasion.
Through it all, Yahgulanaas says his art continues to try and break down barriers and eschew simple binaries.
“Haida Manga is an effort to try and cut through all the clutter.”