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Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
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Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas is a visual artist, author, and mischief-maker. His works are informed by political experience, artists and leaders, and a lifetime of curiosity.
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This is a gallery of work specially created for #ThinAir2023. Spend time with writers you love, and discover some new favourites! Ceci est une galerie de travaux spécialement créée pour #ThinAir2023. Passez du temps avec des écrivains que vous aimez et découvrez de nouveaux favoris!

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas is a visual artist and author. His works live in public and private collections around the world, including the British Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Humboldt Forum in Berlin, Seattle Art Museum, and Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology and Vancouver Art Gallery.

His large sculptures are in public art collections across British Columbia, with more on the way. His work has also been transformed into an opera, The Flight of the Hummingbird, for which he was the librettist. His publications include Flight of the Hummingbird, RED: a Haida Manga, Carpe Fin, and War of the Blink. In 2022, UBC Press published a catalogue of his work, Mischief Making: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Art, and the Seriousness of Play, by Dr. Nicola Levell.

Yahgulanaas creates art inspired by almost four decades of political experience in the Council of the Haida Nation, a decade as a trustee for a philanthropic foundation, and an upbringing in a lineage of accomplished artists and hereditary leaders.

He has traveled extensively through a wide and diverse geography of Indigenous, pastoral, and resilient communities. He always with a traveler’s ticket in one hand and in the other is the artist’s sketchbook brimming with curiosity and ideas.

Interview / Entrevue

I never hid books because we didn’t have any. Books were uncommon. In the earliest part of my life, the only book around was a thick Bible with beautiful lithographic engravings. When we moved from that home, I can remember a few books from school but small, northern, Indigenous communities weren’t book cultures. The exposure I had to graphic novels was through my Scottish grandfather. He was a customs officer for part of his life – and he got comic books from passing ships so I was exposed to British comic books in that way. When American comic books came along, I knew there was something else going on. My favourites were the Classics Illustrated. I wasn’t interested in the Archies, the Supermans, and all those.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, something like: “Beyond the laws of physics, everything else is an opinion.”

Oren Lyons said that no matter how many promises we make, or how many declarations we make, ice is melting, and ice keeps melting.

That’s the law of physics. Everything else is opinion.

I have different desks, and mostly they are cluttered, like my mind. It’s like the ocean: high tide and low tide, I think sometimes the desk needs to be cluttered and sometimes it needs to be clean.

Well, if I told you what it was, it wouldn’t be secret, so the secret ambition I am discarding here, for you, is to sit on a hillside with my mouth wide open and have a roasted duck fly into it.

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