Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas “Haida Manga Guy” opens show at Museum of Anthropology
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Multi-site installation, July 10 – December 31, 2007
July 10, 2007 – December 31, 2007.
Opening Reception Tuesday, July 10, 2007,
7:00 pm (free; everyone welcome).
Every Tuesday the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team turns into the Gung Haggis Social and Foodie Club. This Tuesday I have suggested we go to the Museum of Anthropology for a truly unique event.
I saw a post card for the event: titled Meddling in the Museum, and right away I
zoom in on the words “Live music and refreshments to follow, “tailgate
style.” I said to myself, “Gotta go!”
I first met Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas when I introduced him at the Word On the Street Festival a few years ago at Library Square. He was reading from his Haida Manga book. and I held the book up and turned the pages so the audience could see the incredible drawings. Michael was touched by this gesture, and warmly signed my copy of his book.
This new show features installations at the Museum of Anthropology. Michael has collected argillite
dust from all his fellow carvers and used it to create an “argillite
paint” which was used to cover a Pontiac Firefly car (“Pedal to the Meddle”), upon which more
uniquely Yahgulanaas artwork was painted. It sounds inspirationally
crazy – just like Michael.
There is also a pop-culture take on First Nations style copper shields – but realized from the car hoods (“Coppers from the Hood”),.
The July 10 opening will take place on the Museum
grounds, with a picnic and music by THREE local bands: The Byrd Sisters; Jamie Thomson and the Culturally Modified; and Sister Says.
The Bryd Sisters are three Haida women who have joined
together as sisters and, like their bird-relatives, share a love of
singing and drumming. The Bryd Sisters are Itlqujatqut’aas,
Lori Davis (Dadens Ravens, yahgu janaas), Guulangwas, Jacqueline Hans
(Skidegate Eagles, Gidins, Naa-Ewans Xyadaga), and Gid7ahl-gudsllay,
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson (Skedans Ravens, gak’yaals kiigawaay).
Check out the story in the Georgia Straight:
Re Collecting The Coast
man who invented Haida manga is standing in an improvised studio at the
UBC Museum of Anthropology. Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas is positioned
between his sculptural works in progress–two large, copper-coated
“shields”, which he will install outside MOA's front doors–talking
about meeting places, middle places, and margins. “I'm trying to play
the edge between the neighbourhoods,” he says, indicating the way the
interface between First Nations and colonial culture has shaped his
current project–and his life. “I grew up that way. I was the only
pale-looking Haida in the whole village…the only green-eyed,
light-haired kid.” Born in Prince Rupert and raised in Delkatla, on
Haida Gwaii (he added the Haida name of his mother's family to his
Anglo surname), he has witnessed and experienced social inequities
based solely on appearance. “I'm always very conscious of the edge,” he
His dual careers reflect that consciousness. After briefly studying art
in Vancouver in the mid-1970s, Yahgulanaas returned to Haida Gwaii (he added the Haida name of his mother's family to his Anglo
surname), he has witnessed and experienced social inequities based
solely on appearance. “I'm always very conscious of the edge,” he says.
dual careers reflect that consciousness. After briefly studying art in
Vancouver in the mid-1970s, Yahgulanaas returned to Haida Gwaii to
assist acclaimed painter, carver, and printmaker Robert Davidson on a
significant totem-pole commission. While occasionally participating in
other such projects, he spent much of the 1980s and '90s dedicated to
public service and political activism. For a period, he was an elected
chief councillor for the Haida, and he also sat on numerous committees,
negotiating jurisdictional disputes between the Haida and various
levels of government. “I was working with other people in the community
on issues related to the land, social justice, offshore oil, and gas
transport, these sorts of things,” he says. By 2000, however, he felt
he could return full-time to his art-making. “What's really good about
it is that the art is informed by that experience,” he says. “The
exploration of the edge.”
Yahgulanaas began creating pop-graphic
narratives, riffing on traditional Haida stories and painting
techniques, and quickly developed the distinctive art form for which he
is most widely known. “I started off trying to do comic books because
comic books are about accessibility,” he says. Karen Duffek, MOA's
curator of contemporary visual arts, adds, “Michael brings together his
own version of the language and imagery of Haida painting with the
mass-circulation and graphic aspects of Japanese manga.” A
tricksterlike sense of humour contributes to his work's appeal, Duffek
observes. Yahgulanaas's books include A Tale of Two Shamans , The Last Voyage of the Black Ship , and Hachidori , a bestseller in Japan.
check out the rest of this Georgia Straight story: