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Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas nominated for three book prizes for JAJ: A Haida Manga

Michael Nicholl Yahgulanaas pioneered a new artform that he calls Haida Manga. Photo by Karolina Turek.

B.C. author and artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas has a wide-ranging practice. He’s created large public art works, mixed-media sculptures, canvases, ink drawings, ceramics, watercolours, and illustrated publications. He also pioneered an artform known as “Haida Manga”.

According to his biography, Yahgulanaas is a descendent of Haida basket maker Isabella Edenshaw, Haida chief and master artist Charles Edenshaw, and Haida weaver Delores Churchill. Yahgulanaas points out that he also received training from exceptional Indigenous creators and master carvers. And he developed Haida Manga after studying Chinese brush techniques with Cantonese master Cai Ben Kwon.

“Haida Manga blends North Pacific Indigenous iconographies and framelines with the graphic dynamism of Asian manga,” Yahgulanaas states on his website. “It is committed to hybridity as a positive force that opens a third space for critical engagement.”

He describes this hybridity as “an empowering and playful way to view and engage with social issues”.

Earlier this month, Yahgulanaas’s JAJ: A Haida Manga (Douglas & McIntyre) was nominated as one of five finalists for the 2024 Doug Wright Award for Best Book. The Doug Wright Awards honour the best in Canadian comics.

Yahgulanaas

Yahgulanaas names book after visitor to Masset

According to the publisher, JAJ: A Haida Manga “brings to life the tumultuous history of first contact between Europeans and Indigenous peoples and the early colonization by the Europeans of the northern West Coast”. The book tracks several historical figures. They include Norwegian ethnologist Johan Adrian Jacobsen, a.k.a. JAJ, who travelled in the late 19th century to the Haida village of Masset to gather specimens for a German museum.

The Doug Wright Awards will be livestreamed on YouTube when they’re presented in Toronto on May 11 at 8 p.m. Eastern daylight time.

JAJ: A Haida Manga is also a finalist for two B.C. and Yukon Book Prizes, which will be handed out on September 28. It’s nominated for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award and the Jim Deva Prize for Writing that Provokes.

In 2020, Yahgulanaas won the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize for Carpe Fin. This award goes to the book that contributes the most to the enjoyment and understanding of B.C.

To learn more about Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, visit his website. Follow Pancouver on Instagram @PancouverMedia.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.