Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas


Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas is an award-winning visual contemporary artist, author and professional speaker. His work has been seen in public spaces, museums, galleries and private collections around the world. Institutional collections include the British Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum and Vancouver Art Gallery. His large sculptural works are part of the public art collections of the Vancouver International Airport, City of Vancouver, City of Kamloops and University of British Columbia. Yahgulanaas's publications include national bestsellers Flight of the Hummingbird and RED, a Haida Manga. When not writing or producing art, Yahgulanaas draws from his 20 years of political experience in the Council of the Haida Nation and speaks to businesses, institutions and communities about social justice, community building, communication and change management.

Yahgulanaas became a full-time artist after many decades working as part of the Haida Nation's successful campaign to protect its biocultural diversity. But his artistic activity started much earlier: as the descendant of iconic artists Isabella Edenshaw, Charles Edenshaw, and Delores Churchill, he had early training from exceptional creators and master carvers. In the late 1990s, after exposure to Chinese brush techniques and under the tutelage of Cantonese master Cai Ben Kwon, he consciously began to merge Haida and Asian artistic influences into his self-taught practice, and created the art form called "Haida Manga."

Haida Manga blends North Pacific Indigenous iconographies and framelines with the graphic dynamism of Asian manga. It is committed to hybridity as a positive force that opens a third space for critical engagement. That hybridity becomes woven through the artist's art, books and speeches, and offers an empowering and playful way to view and engage with social issues.

Yahgulanaas's visual practice encompasses a variety of 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 communicates a worldview that is, while particular to his ancestral North Pacific archipelago of Haida Gwaii, also relevant to a contemporary and internationally-engaged audience.

Yahgulanaas's practice is celebrated for its vitality, relevancy and originality.