The Seriousness of Play: The Art of Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas


The Seriousness of Play: The Art of Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas


28 × 23 cm | 9 × 11 in
128 ills | 160 pages

Author: Professor Nicola Levell
Contributors: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Jonathan King

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The Seriousness of Play explores the work of Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, whose practice melds his cultural and political experiences as an Indigenous person with contemporary graphic literature to produce a unique genre called Haida Manga.

Yahgulanaas is a visual artist, and creator of Haida Manga. His wide-ranging artistic practice explores themes of identity, environmentalism and the human condition. As the father of this new visual genre, Yahgulanaas combines imagery from his North Pacific island home with Asian Manga to create a distinctive and dynamic artform for retelling oral histories and addressing contemporary issues surrounding land, cultural memory, ecological destruction and the politics of belonging, ownership and identity.

The Seriousness of Play explores the multiple forms, materialities and meaning of Haida Manga as it playfully mutates through repurposed automobile parts, large-scale public art projects, mixed-media sculptures, two-dimensional painted and graphic forms and hand-painted illustrations. 

Yahgulanaas has been exhibited internationally and his books and graphic novels—including RED, Flight of the Hummingbird, A Tale of Two Shamans and Hachidori—have been published in the United States, Canada, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Abu Dhabi, Serbia and Spain.