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Raven and the Box of Daylight Opens at the Wichita Art Museum

See the "Raven and the Box of Daylight" traveling exhibit at the Wichita Art Museum. 

Raven and the Box of Daylight
Wichita Art Museum
Opens February 1st and on view through August 30th, 2020
 

Visit the Wichita Art Museum for the opening of "Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight", the unique traveling exhibition by Preston Singletary and organized by the Museum of Glass, which tells the Tlingit origin story of Raven and his transformation of the world—bringing light to people via the stars, moon, and sun.
 
 
The story unfolds as visitors move through the exhibition’s four environments, while listening to recordings of storytellers paired with layers of original music and soundscapes. Singletary’s art creates a theatrical atmosphere in which his striking glass pieces enhance the narrative of Raven and the Box of Daylight.

 

Read more about the story behind Raven and the Box of Daylight in this article by The Seattle Times: "There are Many Versions of the Tlingit ‘Raven’ Story, but its Truth and Hopeful Message are Universal".

 

Additional venues include the National Museum of the American Indian - Smithsonian, Washington, DC. Fall 2020 and the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA. Fall 2021.

 

See the full list of exhibition events, news and more at the Wichita Art Museum.

 

Raven and the Box of Daylight

Cast lead crystal

32.75" x 9.75" x 6"

 

Box of Daylight

Kiln cast and sand carved glass

20" x 36.75" x 16" 

 

White Raven

Blown and sand carved glass

19.25" x 9" x 14" 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Talking Out Your Glass” Podcast interview with Preston Singletary.

Listen to the recent Glass Art magazine podcast, “Talking Out Your Glass”, featuring an interview with Preston Singletary.

Listen to the recent Glass Art magazine podcast, “Talking Out Your Glass”, featuring an interview with Preston Singletary. 

“Talking Out Your Glass”, features the Editor of Glass Art magazine, Shawn Waggoner, interviewing a variety of internationally noted artists about several wide ranging topics.

Hear Preston Singletary chat about his inspiration for his art, upcoming special projects, and his band Khu.éex’, which fuses Tlingit storytelling with rock/funk.

Listen on itunes or Stitcher right now.

 

Family Story Totem - Preston Singletary

"Family Story Totem"

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Craft in America & Preston Singletary

See the latest PBS Episode of Craft in America featuring Preston Singletary. 

The air date has been announced for the latest “Craft in America” episode, featuring Preston Singletary. Make sure to check your local listings for “Craft in America: Nature” airing Friday April 21st, 2017 to see an interview with Preston about his art.


In May 2016 the award-winning PBS show “Craft in America” filmed at the Preston Singletary Glass Studio in Seattle, WA. The team filmed a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse at the different phases of creating pieces in blown glass, interviewed Curator Miranda Belarde-Lewis about Tlingit culture and received greater insight directly from Preston Singletary on his art.

Visit the “Craft in America” website to explore past episodes, featured artists and to learn more about this award-winning series.

See Singletary’s Artist Page


 

Craft in America’s mission includes:

“…To document and advance original handcrafted work through programs in all media, accessible to all. We are dedicated to the exploration, preservation and celebration of craft, the work of the hand, and their impact on our nation’s cultural heritage.”

 

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The Exhibition at Château Musée Boulogne-sur-Mer in France

An innovative exhibition of contemporary Alaskan art has arrived at the Château Musée Boulogne-sur-Mer in France. 

An innovative exhibition of contemporary Alaskan art has arrived at the Château Musée Boulogne-sur-Mer in France. Organized by Alutiiq artist Perry Eaton, a large selection of works by twenty-nine contemporary Alaskan Native artists will enter the collection of the museum, one of the first collections of this type in Europe.  The exhibition, titled "D'une culture a l'autre" — "From One Culture to Another", brought Preston Singletary to France as an artist included in the exhibit.

In Preston Singletary’s words:

“It was an amazing experience meeting scholars from around the world specializing in Alaskan Native "Artifacts". There were Anthropologists from France, Switzerland, Germany, UK, Finland, Russia, Denmark and other regions who are familiar with our Alaskan objects.

The group of artists showed them that we are still here and we created a dialogue about the collections and our ability to access them. We explained that we have critical knowledge, which can enhance their book knowledge of the objects. We gifted a collection of objects to show our good will, in order for them to see the contemporary perspectives we have, to view the new materials we work with and so they can come to understand us even better as contemporary Indigenous people.

It was a unique experience with an audience from around world who were interested in this continuum of our cultural art. If nothing else we turned a few heads. Thank you Perry Eaton for bringing us together and making this happen. I hope that this is just the beginning of the dialogue.”

In France, a New Exhibit Marks First Collection of Contemporary Alaska Native Art in Europe - Alaska Dispatch News.

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Preston Singletary’s Coppers

The artwork of Preston Singletary is rich with cultural symbolism. Here, we will help explain some of the artistic, spiritual, historical, and anthropological meanings behind some of Preston’s most recognizable works. This week is the copper shield form.

The artwork of Preston Singletary is rich with cultural symbolism.  He is often asked about the different forms and symbols used in the pieces he makes, so we are starting a blog series that will help explain some of the artistic, spiritual, historical, and anthropological meanings behind some of Preston’s most recognizable works.

 

Symbolic Wealth, 2009

 

For our first post, we will look at the Tináa, or Copper Shield form.  Preston has used it several times in various works throughout the years.   He references it as an item of clan treasure and symbolic wealth.

Family Story Totem (detail), 2013 and Family Story Totem, 2004

According to anthropologists, the copper shield form, or tináa, is ancient and possibly Asiatic in origin (dating from before the peoples now known as Native Americans crossed the land bridge more than 12,000 years ago).  They symbolized the wealth of the clan, both due to the monetary value of the copper and other supernatural meanings attributed to copper as it occurs in nature.  In many myths, the discovery of copper was tantamount to an encounter with a supernatural being.  Although copper was historically used only by a chief, myths sometimes portray the discoverer of copper as low in status, with their status rising when they find it.  The discovery of copper not only gives the finder tangible evidence of contact with the supernatural, but also manifests the element of luck, which has its own magical connotations.  The discovery of copper in its natural state ensured wealth.  Wealth was considered the outward manifestation of power, which was believed to be supernaturally endowed or acquired. 

Copper Totem, 2009

From Northwest Tribal Arts:

The "Copper" was used by the First Nations people as a form of money and wealth. It was made out of "Native" copper which was found in the land where they lived, and superficially resembled a shield. Considered very rare and hard to obtain, raw copper was traded from the Athabaskan Indians in the Interior Plains, or from the white man in later times.

Coppers were beaten into shape and usually painted or engraved with traditional designs. Most Coppers were fairly large, often 2 to 3 feet tall and a foot across.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Copper is that they were given names so that their worth and heritage could be passed on. A Copper was only worth what it was last traded for, and it could only be traded for a larger amount the next time around. Consequently, some Copper values became highly valuable - worth the total of 1,500 to 2,000 blankets, a couple of war canoes and hundreds of boxes and bowls.

No matter what the original value was the next person who wanted it had to trade more in exchange for it. Only the richest and most powerful could afford the price of an old Copper. Many Coppers were in rather shabby condition as a result of having been used in quarrels between Chiefs.

To the Kwakiutl, the ownership and display of a Copper became an essential for the proper conduct of a marriage or important dance ritual.

 

A man whose family's honour had been injured by the actions of remarks of another would publicly have a piece cut from a valuable Copper and give the piece to the offender. That person was obligated to cut or "break" a Copper in return. The broken pieces could be brought up and joined into a new Copper or used to replace pieces missing from a "broken" one.

The most valuable Kwakiutl Coppers tend to be rough and patched since they have the longest history and have been broken the most often. Coppers that have been broken have a certain prestige value that is quite independent from their monetary value.

Tináa, 2001

More information and discussion on Coppers can be found in this book, available online:
Coppers of the Northwest Coast Indians: Their Origin, Development and Possible Antecedents by Carol F. Jopling. 
 

Historical Image via the Canadian Museum of Civilization:

For nearly two years after his death, the body of Chief Skowl lay in state inside his house at Kasaan, Alaska. The burial chest, draped with a button blanket, is surrounded by storage chests filled with his regalia; beside the burial chest are his eight copper shields. The people in the photo are his slaves, who were displayed as part of his wealth.

Photograph by Albert P. Niblack, 1883

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