Raven and the Box of Daylight
Opening in 2018 at the Museum of Glass, Raven and the Box of Daylight is the Tlingit story of Raven and his transformation of the world—bringing light to people via the stars, moon, and sun. This myth holds great significance in the mythology of the Tlingit people as a revered creation tale. The exhibition features a dynamic combination of artwork, storytelling, and encounter, where the Tlingit creation myth unfolds during the visitor’s experience.
The glass art of Preston Singletary is rooted in the narrative of Raven and the Box of Daylight. Primarily known for his celebration of Native American art and design, Singletary will explore new ways of working with glass inspired by Tlingit design principles. Tlingit objects were traditionally created for stagecraft, and were used to tell stories by representing elements of the natural world, as well as the histories of tribal families. By drawing upon this tradition, Singletary’s art creates a unique theatrical atmosphere, in which the pieces follow and enhance the exhibition narrative. - Text Courtesy of Museum of Glass.
The upcoming Raven and the Box of Daylight exhibit at the Museum of Glass uses Singletary’s glass sculptures as the foundation, while pushing boundaries with added video and soundscape elements woven throughout. Starting in darkness and ending in light, the visitor will encounter depictions of the Nass River, Raven’s transformation, a Clan House and finally the world in daylight.
Below is the origin history of the Raven and the Box of Daylight.
Raven and the Box of Daylight
Raven looked around and noticed that the world was dark. Raven encountered the fishermen of the night and asked, “Where is the Light?” They told Raven of the chief at the head of the Nass River who kept the light in his clan house.
Raven decided to go to the old chief, but was shooed away. He learns of the chief’s daughter who drinks from the stream outside of the clan house. In order to sneak into the house, Raven devises a plan to transform himself into a speck of dirt and float into the young girl’s cup. Her servants see the dirt and they throw the water out. Raven then decides to transform himself into a hemlock needle in the stream and tries again. This time the daughter drinks the water that contains the hemlock needle and she becomes pregnant with Raven in the form of a human baby boy.
The old chief wouldn’t deny his much loved grandson anything. The boy grew quickly and was very precocious. Raven, disguised as the boy, eventually discovered a box and asked to play with it. The chief and his mother refused but the boy screamed until the grandfather gave in. When no one was looking the boy opened the box and the Stars flew up through the smoke hole and into the night sky. They scolded the boy. After some time the old man forgot what his grandson had done, and Raven discovered another box. Raven asked to play with the box and they refused. So Raven started to scream and cry. They eventually gave the box to him and he opened it. The Moon floated from the box and up into the sky.
Finally, the boy found the final box. He again asked to play with it and everyone adamantly refused. So he cried until old man relented again. They instructed him once again to not open the box. So he played with the box; slept with the box and ate off of the box. However, the boy was growing tired of being human and decided to transform back into the Raven.
One night when everyone was asleep, he crept to the box and slowly opened it. This was the box containing the Sun. Raven decided to flee the clan house, while daylight flooded throughout the world and everything was bathed in light.
Mark your calendars for the Raven and the Box of Daylight at the Museum of Glass, opening October 2018. Below are examples of pieces that will appear in this unique exhibiton.
Raven and the Box of Daylight, cast lead crystal, 37.5" x 8.5" x 6.25. Depicting the Raven holding the Sun and two figures standing on a box.
The Woman Who Was Transparent, blown and sand carved glass, 20" x 14" x 14"
Raven in a Water Droplet, blown and sand-carved glass, 15.5" x 3" x 3"