Raven Headdress (2003)
EXHIBITION:Birds of a Feather
The Raven is the transformer, Trickster and Creator. Known in legends as the one who released the sun moon, and stars, discovered man in a clamshell, brought the salmon and the water and taught man how to fish and hunt.
Raven in Kaguilth culture is known as the Sky Messenger of the animal kingdom. The Raven is famous for being a somewhat mischievous glutton. He was always out to please himself and have a good time, but his adventures always ended up bettering mankind.
The story of “Raven Steals the Light” is legendary. An old man lived in a house on the bank of a river with his only child, a daughter. At this time, it was pitch black everywhere and no one could see anything. So whether she was beautiful or not, there wasn’t any way anyone could tell. Thus, begins the tale of the Raven and the Sun. It’s said that the old man kept the Sun locked in a box inside a box, which had yet another box containing an infinite number of boxes until finally there was one so small that all it could contain was all the light in the universe.
The Raven was no satisfied with the state of darkness since it led to his blundering an bumping into everything. This slowed him down in his pursuit of the good things in life, which was what he loved more than getting into mischief. One day he crashed into the old man’s house and he heard the man and his daughter talking about the light. He decided he wanted the light for himself so he waited for the daughter to leave the house. He transformed himself into a tiny human being inside her. When he emerged he was a very odd looking child, but it was too dark to notice his long nose and the few feathers still clinging to him.
As the Raven Child gained the affection of the old man, he devised a plan to get the Sun. He asked for the largest box in the house and upon being refused, he cried and screamed so loudly that the Grandfather gave him the box. After all, it was only one and there were so many more. It took many days, but after a few well-executed tantrums the Raven Child removed all the boxes, When only a few were left a strange radiance began to suffuse the room. The Raven Child begged to hold the light for only a few moments and the Grandfather gave him the light. As the light was passed to him, the Raven Child transformed into a huge Raven. He snapped up the light in his beak and flew up the smoke hole of the house into the darkness of the world.
The Raven now rejoiced with his new possession and was having such a good time that he did not see the Eagle come upon him. In a panic, he swerved and dropped almost half the light he was carrying. It fell to the rocky ground and broke into pieces. They bounced back into the sky and remain there to this day as the Moon and Stars.
Meanwhile, the Raven was pursued to the edge of the world and, exhausted, he finally let go of his last piece of light. It fell to th East and that is how the Raven gave us the Sun.