Raven King

Limited Edition Giclee
  |   $380

Raven is the mythological culture-hero/trickster of the Northwest Coast, the same who both creates and destroys, but whose destructions, or acts of will, often involuntarily spawn benefits and amusements for mankind (more like a Greek demi-god than a Hebrew Absolute).

Take, for instance, his most famous deed of all: the theft of the sun which is the theme of this limited-edition serigraph print. This universally held myth of the Northwest Coast tells that in the beginning the world was without light, steeped in a primordial darkness. The sun it seems was kept in a Box of Daylight held in the house of First Grandfather and his daughter. Raven, in the vigor of his youth, and tired of darkness (as well as of the pre-concious world it implies) decided to steal the Light from within this box, no doubt for the visual advantages it would provide him. In the most dynamic of his acts then, he decided to transform himself into a spruce needle which was accidentally swallowed by the daughter. This accomplished, he grew with supernatural speed to birth as a subversively charming human child. Soon with the shrewd intention of certain betrayal (and divine play) he fussed so affectingly that his adoring (and exhausted) elder gave in to his interest in the, yes, Box of Daylight. Instantaneously the human child re-transfigured himself into corvus the canny bird, tore the sun from its container and vaulted into the sky. It is the Northwest Coast’s version of both the myth of Prometheus and the Big Bang theory. The rest is history.

In this 5-color serigraph Raven stands before an oversized, if muted image of himself as a stylized and classic formline flat design on the sides of the Box of Daylight. In the overlying, full-sized image he is no longer rash or foolish as in his youth, but grown regal and wise with time, in fact he seems to owe something to the monumental friezes of Mesopotamia as well as to the beautiful structure of Northwest Coast formline art. Within his body is his previous form as a half-human boy, half-bird figure (A). In his front hands, half transformed into the feathering of wings (1), is the figure of the sun (2); his feet are drawn up beneath in the formation of talons (3) while his head still retains characteristics of his human form with a human-like nose (4) but with down turned mouth becoming a beak (5). The moon and stars which he chipped from the sun are symbolized in the small ellipses beneath his interior jaw (6) and in the iridescent abalone inlay along the rim of his cape. The small bands of gold -formline design are sometimes creatures, sometimes not – the decorative filigree of imperium.

-Barry Herem
Raven Rex
by Barry Herem

Lord of the realm
star thief
cool master of the quantum
Raven is Chief.

Author of day
symbol of place
giver of tools
Raven is grace.

Immortal jester
harlequin boy
dunce, buffoon
Raven is joy.

Transformer, shape-shifter
unnatural change
Raven is strange.

Raven is sphinx:
from his Being
sire and sibling
concurerently spring

Laugh with me:
Raven is king.