Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas: Carpe Fin

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Carpe Fin (detail), 2018. Seattle Art Museum, Ancient and Native American Art Acquisition Fund, McRae Foundation and Karen Jones, 2018.30. © Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. Photo: Len Gilday.

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas: Carpe Fin

Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA - Mar 7, 2021

by Matthew Kangas

Measuring six by 19 feet, this extraordinary watercolor mural by artist, activist and storyteller Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas employs his distinctive “Haida manga” style to tell a powerful story. Blending visual elements from Haida art, Japanese manga, Pop Art and graphic novels with Indigenous oral history traditions, Yahgulanaas recounts a tale of a sea-mammal hunter whose community has been beset by a series of disasters and who is taken to the underwater realm of a powerful spirit. Commissioned for the SAM collection and complemented by Carpe Fin: A Haida Manga, a hardcover book from Douglas & McIntyre, the mural alerts us to ongoing environmental destruction and human alienation from the natural world.

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