Meaning change meaningful to Haida artist

  • Aug. 6, 2007 5:00 p.m.

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas says he is all about changing meaning and now he’s been invited to do just that with a new exhibit called Meddling in the Museum, showing at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver until December.In his three site specific installations, he’s “changed meaning” of not only the themes and conventions of Haida art, but also the way indigenous cultures are presented by institutions and are understood by the public.For Coopers from the Hood, he welded a pair of red and a pair of white car hoods together and applied copper leaf to the front, echoing the shape of a traditional copper shield. The Bone Box uses discarded storage trays that once held the museum’s collection of human remains. Yahgulanaas painted the back of twelve of these panels that together resemble the front of the carved chests displayed on nearby platforms. Cranks made of copper piping allow the viewer to turn the panels flat, revealing the collected totem poles on display in the Great Hall. In Pedal to the Meddle he flips a treasured Bill Reid canoe (also carved by Guujaaw and Simon Dick) upside down and ties it to the top of a Pontiac Firefly. The car has been painted with a mixture of autobody enamel and argillite dust and is perched on the ramp near Bill Reid’s The Raven and the First Men, looking like it’s in process of a getaway. In this way Yahgulanaas takes the notion of a sacred icon for a ride.Not only did he change the way some artifacts appear in the museum, but he also changed the way the museum does openings too. Instead of standing around drinking wine and eating cheese, Mr. Yahgulanaas wanted a more casual atmosphere for his show. He held a tail-gate party on the lawn of the museum with Haida musicians, barbequed hamburgers and more. Mr. Yahgulanaas said one of the senior members of the museum told him the opening of the exhibit set a new standard. The museum planned for 150 and 450 showed up, the highest ever number of visitors to any art exhibit opening at the MOA. Families as well as many of Vancouver’s art supporters were there, says Yahgulanaas.

Just Posted

Painting her way home

Janine Gibbons talks about all she learned illustrating Haida and Tlingit story books

Haida Gwaii gets top spot in The World

It was already a nice Christmas present, but Keith Moore was really… Continue reading

McNeill fined again for illegal fishing

A local man with a long history of poaching has been convicted… Continue reading

Old Massett taps grassroots for community plan

Over coffee, kitchen tables, and community dinners, Old Massett is taking a… Continue reading

Subsea internet cable to link up Haida Gwaii

Cable to connect Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast with mainland network

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

UPDATE: Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Most Read