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Famed Haida artist Robert Davidson carves his latest monumental totem pole and gives a rare insight into the deeper meanings of North Coast Indigenous art works.

In this sequel to the feature-length documentary HAIDA MODERN, Robert Davidson, the articulate and engaging master carver, uses old photos showing how he once created a totem pole called 'We Were Once Silenced'; a work dedicated to the memory of the wrongs suffered by his people at the hands of the captains of colonization.

In his new, more hopeful work however, Robert celebrates the cultural and political reawakening of the Indigenous peoples of the world in general, and the Haida Nation particular, with a pole called 'Gyaangee: Beyond Being Silenced'.

The viewer is treated to the extraordinarily beautiful shapes and curves of the master's work. Most importantly we're given access to the mysterious world of the supernatural creatures who populate Haida mythology and their spiritual world view.


Acclaimed Haida Manga artist, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, pushes the boundaries of the art world by challenging the divide between contemporary and so-called "Native Art".

With humour, kinetic innovation and expansion of traditional and contemporary forms, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas directly confronts the tension between contemporary and so-called "Native Art," which he identifies as arising from a legacy of historic racism that persists within and beyond the Western Art World. Drawing from influences on both shores of the North Pacific and his place in today's world, Yahgulanaas's work addresses the seminal issues of our time.

MEDDLE captures Yahgulanaas's artistic process and philosophy as he creates a re-purposed, car-hood art piece for the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, BC, expanding his "Coppers from the Hood" series. Individual pieces from this series are now in the permanent collections of the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum, Glenbow, and the Denver Art Museum.

14 minutes
SDH Captioned

7 minutes
SDH Captioned

Directed by Charles Wilkinson, Tina Schliessler
Creative Producers: Robert Davidson, Terri-Lynn Williams Davidson, Sara Florence Davidson
A Shore Films Production



Directed by Gillian Darling
Produced by Gillian Darling
Executive Producer: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Associate Producer: Eliot Galán
Writer: Gillian Darling
Cinematographer, Picture & Sound Editor: Eliot Galán
Original Music: Keigh
A Gillian Darling Film Services Production

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Screening options:
$29.95 Home Use DVD purchase (private use only)

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$100 Small Community Screening (1-50 people)
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"Vibrant as the painted pole itself, the story of GYAANGEE: BEYOND BEING SILENCED beautifully illustrates what happens when you invite creativity into the world. The film reveals Robert Davidson's dedication to collaboration and knowledge sharing. We witness the artist's deep knowledge of how to bring Haida histories into physical form as he brings this pole to life."
Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse, Director, Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art, University of Washington

"Robert Davidson has carved dozens of totem poles. This visual biography accompanies the artist as he creates a unique pole--one that he has 'always wanted to do.' GYAANGEE: BEYOND BEING SILENCED addresses settler oppression with references to residential school crimes, cultural devastation, and a history denied. But works like this intensify empowerment and recognition, articulating a robust voice no longer silenced. This is a compelling and moving film of Davidson's optimistic artistic interpretation of colonialism and its downfall."
Aldona Jonaitis, Director Emerita, Museum of the North, University of Alaska, Author, Art of the Northwest Coast

"GYAANGEE is a wonderfully produced short film that snapshots and introduces the viewer to an iconic Indigenous cultural art form as well as one of its master craftsmen. With a gentle reverence, Haida artist Robert Davidson establishes a foundation of intrigue into this important cultural form of communication while exploring his artistic process and the meaning behind his work. This film is an excellent resource for introducing Indigenous studies in Art, Anthropology, and Sociology courses, as well as for students of any age. I highly recommend it."
Seth Thomas Sutton (Odawa), Professor and Chair, Arts & Humanities, Montcalm Community College, Author, The Deconstruction of Chief Blackhawk

"Highly Recommended...Impactful...This short film is highly recommended for middle school and older. It is a brief but well-crafted introduction to the art and meaning of the totem pole."
Jasmine Smith, Alvernia University, Educational Media Reviews Online






"This wonderful film is itself a visual and verbal poem. It integrates Yahgulanaas' eloquent words about his creative process, the elegance of his art, and an inventive use of film. But it is more than a celebration of artistry. In a decolonizing action, Yahgulanaas juxtaposes his innovative Indigenous artwork with two plaques - one provincial, the other federal - that had been installed in 1976 to celebrate the Museum of Anthropology's opening. MEDDLE beautifully demonstrates the capacity of art to challenge the historic dominance of settler society."
Aldona Jonaitis, Director Emerita, Museum of the North, University of Alaska, Author, Art of the Northwest Coast

"With his characteristic wit and dynamism, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas offers a glimpse into the poetry, politics, and process of his artmaking as a form of serious play. His Coppers in the Hood situate the museum and art world within intersecting legacies of colonialism, climate change, and cultural transformation. In this short film, Yahgulanaas draws the viewer into the series, tacking between the local and the global, the moment and the timeless, the handmade and the industrial, the Haida and the human."
Aaron Glass, Professor of Anthropology, Museum Studies, and Indigenous Arts, Bard Graduate Center, Bard College

"A compact but magnificent preface to the universe of Northwest Coast traditional art. The artist's sophisticated statements and contemporary applications of that art will keep viewers at the edge of their seats, excited what they're going to hear and see next. I will watch this film a dozen times for both its ability to delight, inform and amaze all at once, and then watch it again. Wisdom lies within this copper hood, and within what Yahgulanaas has to share with us. An absolute gem."
Peter Nabokov, Professor Emeritus of World Arts and Cultures, University of California - Los Angeles, Author, A Forest of Time: American Indian Ways of History

"Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas is always a treat to listen to - he is both philosophical and grounded in the moment. This film brings out his voice and provides a personal reflection on how one artist can Meddle in the Museum and provide an intervention into questions of authority, materials and meaning. His enthusiasm and joy for the artistic process comes through with an invitation for all of us to MEDDLE in some of the great environmental and social questions challenging us today."
Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse, Director, Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art, Associate Professor of Native Art, University of Washington

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