Dempsey Bob's Raven and Sculpin

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Native Art Prints recently acquired a rare print by acclaimed Tahltan/Tlingit artist Dempsey Bob. This print is titled Raven Traveling with Sculpin, and it depicts a Tlingit myth:

During Raven's travels, he decided to take rest and camp on the wild shores of the Northwest Coast. While camping he saw a large sculpin trying to get ashore at the tidal line in front of him and he said to it "My uncle's son, come ashore here. Come way up. One time, when you and I were going along in our uncle's canoe we fell into the water. So come up a little farther. You do not look like a fish that likes the deep sea." Raven was very hungry, and, when the sculpin came ashore, he seized it by its broad tail intending to eat it. But the strong little bony fish slipped through his fingers. This happened many times, and each time, the sculpin's tail became smaller. This is why it is so slender today.


This print is an Artist Proof serigraph and is numbered 7/11. It is signed by the artist and dated 1979. Dempsey Bob is from the Wolf clan. He began carving in 1970, and studied with late Haida artist Freda Diesing when he was just starting out. Dempsey was encouraged by Freda to apply to the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art at 'Ksan in Hazelton, BC, and he studied there between 1972 and 1974. Dempsey is primarily a wood carver, but has also branched out to bronze casting and jewellery. He has been included in numerous shows, beginning with the early People of the Cedar travelling exhibition that was organized by the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, QC, in 1977. More recently, he was included in the successful Totems to Turquoise exhibition, which travelled throughout North America in 2005. Dempsey's work is highly sought after, and his pieces can be found in the collections of such public institutions as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, the National Museum of Ethnology in Suita, Japan, and the Hamburgisches Museum fur Volkerskkunde in Hamburg, Germany. Dempsey has also become involved in Pacific Rim artist exchanges, and travelled to New Zealand in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. In June 2013, Dempsey Bob was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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