EXHIBITION:Raven Skyriver & Preston Singletary
Kéet Bronze Limited Edition of 20 20” x 6” x 4” Kéet is the Tlingit word for Killer Whale. This is also my main crest symbol. I am Kagwaantan and from the Eagle moiety. The original wood sculpture was carved by David Svenson and depicts the Killer Whale with an Eagle on the top representing my family symbols. Emerging from the mouth of the Killer Whale is a Thunderbird, which was the clan that Svenson was adopted into. The bottom form is a double-headed wolf, as a kind of soul catcher and morphing into a three-dimensional wolf at the center. David Svenson spent many years in Haines, Alaska learning to carve at Alaskan Indian Arts. His teachers include John Hagen, Jenny Lyn Smith and Leo Jacobs. His cultural teachers were Edwin Kasko and Charles Jimmy Sr. David Svenson is a mentor to me and is a multi-disciplinary artist in his own right–working with wood, glass and neon. – Preston Singletary -Preston Singletary Edition of 20.
Below is a Tlingit origin story of killer whale:
The tale begins with a young warrior Natsilane who is destined to become chief due to his skills, intelligence and generally pleasant demeanor. His brothers are extremely jealous of this, and plot to depose him. The brothers take Natsilane out to sea fishing, taking him further away from the shore than they have ever been before. As he becomes concerned, the brothers throw Natsilane overboard and row away.
As Natsilane is beginning to drown, he is found and rescued by Sea otter, who floats him to a large island saying it is too far back to the mainland for Sea otter to help him back. Instead, he promises to look after Natsilane and shows him the best hunting and fishing grounds. Once Natsilane is settled on his new island, alone, Sea otter confers one last gift to him, a pouch of seeds, and instructs Natsilane to sow them. Natsilane does so, and over the years the seeds grow into a bewildering array of different types of tree, all of which are now native in the Pacific Northwest. Natsilane uses wood from the trees to carve tools and a boat.
In appreciation of Sea otter, Natsilane then tries to carve a new totem. He tries all the trees, but settles on using a large Yellow Cedar tree and carves a huge fish from it, and leaves it on the shore for Sea otter to find. The next morning when Natsilane goes down to the shore, the fish carving is gone and in the bay is swimming Blackfish, the first killer whale. With a boat and supplies, Natsilane travels back to his home, guided by Blackfish. When he arrives, he finds his brothers out fishing again, squabbling. He orders Blackfish to destroy their boat and drown his brothers which it does immediately. When it returns, Natsilane orders that from this day forward it must never harm a human again, and that when it finds a human in trouble at sea it must help him. He then sends the whale off to sea. Natsilane returns to his village, which had been terrorised by his brothers, and becomes chief.