Raven Stealing the Sun by Art Thompson

Raven Stealing the Sun by Art Thompson

Regular price $1,000.00 $0.00

Silkscreen Print

17 3/4" x 17 3/4"


Edition of 122


Raven Stealing the Sun is one of, if not the most iconic Northwest Coast Indigenous legends. This print is a completely novel depiction of its subject made all the more remarkable by how rigidly conventional depictions of this legend typically are. Shirking the traditional mode of representation -- Raven holding a circle in his beak -- Art opts to personify the sun as a literal crest crowning a double-headed Raven. Everything is rendered with Art's trademark use of unconventional shapes and fine line work, exemplified by an encircling band of light blue between two wide, rounded, mirrored, and offset u-forms to represent the sun's corona. 

At the beginning of time, the whole world was shrouded in darkness. All the world’s light was being kept inside of a bentwood box by an old man living in with his daughter in a large house. The man kept the light as his most prized treasure, and other beings in the world – like Raven – were not pleased with the difficulty of fumbling around in constant darkness. The man’s daughter would go to the river each day to gather drinking water, and when Raven had decided to remedy the situation, he transformed himself into a hemlock needle and dropped into the river just as the woman was gathering water. When she took a drink of water, Raven as hemlock needle slipped inside her mouth. Raven then transformed again into the form of a child and slept for some time. When Raven was born of the woman in child form, he had strange features; a beak like nose, and feathers sprouting from his body. In the darkness, however, his ‘grandfather’ could not see these markers.

Raven began begging the man to play with his prized bentwood box and the light kept within. The man initially refused, but the Raven Child was insistent and cried and wailed until the man acquiesced. The man opened the box and produced from within a warm glowing orb which he tossed to the Raven Child. While this was happening, Raven transformed back into his true form to catch the orb. Once the orb was in Raven’s mouth, he flew through the smoke hole and took the light up into the cosmos where it remains today. In some versions of this story, the Raven drops some of the light and scatters the stars across the sky or drops the light chipping a piece off and giving us the moon. 

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