The Trickster – 1982
EXHIBITION:Barry Herem: Wood. Glass. Paper. Steel.
Raven is the trickster of the Northwest Coast of North America. Like Coyote among native Americans of the Great Plains, he is also a buffoon, glutton and fool rolled into one. Sometime he is as culture hero and benefactor to man, but usually only by accident.
On the Northwest Coast it is Raven who fools the daughter of the Keeper of the Sun into becoming his human-form mother so that he can eventually trick grandfather into letting him abscond with the First Light, the sun itself.
His tricks continually get him into trouble. While attempting to steal the underwater bait off a fisherman’s hook, the man pulls on the line and Raven loses his beak; trying to gorge on the fat of a whale he becomes imprisoned in its stomach. His disguises are notorious: as old chiefs or young warriors, as children, as every kind of bird or beast or fish, as plant or seaweed and sometimes even as inanimate things such as twigs, pine needles, even small stones. All fall within the repertoire of a trickster unusually bent upon some form of mischievous gratification.