Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Art opens windows to the space between ourselves
Haida Gwaii muralist and artist, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas reminds us that art opens all of us to the connections of life, the meaning of ourselves and the space between each other. Recorded at TEDxVancouver at Rogers Arena on November 14, 2015.
Influenced by both the tradition of Haida iconography and contemporary Asian visual culture, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas has created an artistic practice that is celebrated for its vitality and originality. His work 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.
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 1990s after an exposure to Chinese brush techniques, under the tutelage of Cantonese master Cai Ben Kwon, that he consciously began to merge Haida and Asian artistic influences into his self-taught practice, and innovated the art form called “Haida Manga.”
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. His work has been featured in public spaces, museums, galleries and private collections across North America, Europe Asia, Australia and the Middle East.