"The world is full of stories. But how many of those stories just tell us what we already know? How many of those stories teach us to see the world from a truly different perspective?"
Photographer Kiliii Yuyan illuminates stories of the Arctic and human communities connected to the land and sea. Raised by refugee parents in the US and informed by ancestry that is both Nanai/Hèzhé (East Asian Indigenous) and Chinese-American, he explores the human relationship to the natural world from different cultural perspectives. Kiliii is an award-winning contributor to National Geographic Magazine, TIME, and other major publications.
Wilderness survival skills, coldwater diving, and a penchant for listening have been critical for Kiliii’s projects in extreme environments and cultures outside his own. On assignment, he has fled collapsing sea ice, weathered botulism from fermented whale blood, and found kinship at the edges of the world. In addition, Kiliii builds traditional kayaks and contributes to the revitalization of Northern Indigenous/East Asian culture.
Kiliii is a National Geographic Explorer (2021), one of PDN's 30 Photographers (2019), a member of Indigenous Photograph and Diversify Photo. His work has been exhibited and collected by museums worldwide. Kiliii's public talks inspire others about photography, multicultural perspectives and relationship to land. Kiliii is based out of traditional Duwamish lands (Seattle), but can be found across the circumpolar Arctic much of the year.
- 2022, Gift of the Whale, Whale Tales, HI
- 2021, Photographing the Land at its Extremes, Nikon + Creative Photo Academy, Torrence, CA
- 2021, Keynote: North, First Light Image Festival, Whitehorse, CA
- 2019, People of the Whale, Museum of Art, Fort Collins, CO
- 2019, Season of the Whale, National Geographic Photography Seminar, Washington D.C.
- 2018, On the Sea Ice, We Wear White, George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY
Selected Awards & Honors
- National Geographic 100 Iconic Photos of the Century, 2022
- Zeke Award for Systemic Change, 2022, 1st Place
- Grist 50 Climate and Sustainability Fixer, 2022
- Leica Oskar Barnard Award, 2021, Shortlist
- Society of Publication Designers, 2020, 1st Place
- Nia Tero Storytelling Fellow, 2020
- US Embassy Headline Artist, UAE: RAK Fine Arts, 2020
- International Photography Awards, 2019, 1st Place
- PDN’s Top 30 Emerging Photographers, 2019
- PCNW 22nd Juried Exhibition, 2019, 1st Place
- Best of ASMP, 2018, 1st Place
- Eddie Adams Workshop XXXI, 2018
- PDN World in Focus, 2017, 1st Place
- Px3 Prix de la Photographie Paris, 2017, 1st Place
- 2022, Thin Places, Turchin Center for Visual Arts, Boone, NC
- 2021, Rumors of Arctic Belonging, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR
- 2020, Lenscratch, Spirit: Indigenous Art, Artists and Issues, Griffin Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
- 2020, In/side Out, National Cheng Kung Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan
- 2020, Connected Communities, National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
- 2019, People of the Whale, Center for Fine Art Photography, Museum of Art Fort Collins, CO
- 2018, On the Sea Ice, We Wear White, Glazer’s Camera, Seattle, WA