Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight

Visual Arts

Mon Oct 1, 2018 – Thu Oct 31, 2019

Partner Organization

Museum of Glass


Museum of Glass
1801 Dock Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

Raven and the Box of Daylight is the Tlingit story of Raven and his transformation of the world—bringing light to people via the stars, moon, and sun. This myth holds great significance in the mythology of the Tlingit people as a revered creation tale. The exhibition features a dynamic combination of artwork, story-telling, and encounter, where the Tlingit creation myth unfolds during the visitor’s experience.

The glass art of Preston Singletary (American, born 1963) is rooted in the narrative of Raven and the Box of Daylight. Primarily known for his celebration of Native American art and design, Singletary will explore new ways of working with glass inspired by Tlingit design principles. Tlingit objects were traditionally created for stagecraft, and were used to tell stories by representing elements of the natural world, as well as the histories of tribal families. By drawing upon this tradition, Singletary’s art creates a unique theatrical atmosphere, in which the pieces follow and enhance the exhibition narrative.

Artwork in the exhibition will be supported by the research of Walter Porter, a Tlingit mythologist. Porter’s research provides a unique perspective about Tlingit cultural stories. He was well-known for his comparative work regarding other world mythologies to the Raven story, and his research will be used to draw connections to universal themes and perspectives.

Visitors will be immersed in Tlingit culture through a dynamic, multi-sensory environment. Art objects and exhibition text will be supported by audio and video elements. This will include recordings by storytellers; music; recordings of Pacific Northwest coastal sounds; and a backdrop of shadows and projected images. The exhibition is active, surprising, and dramatic, and engages the viewer through sight and sound.

Oral histories and narratives are an essential part of the survival of Tlingit culture. Recordings of Tlingit storytellers will be central to the auditory experience, and will introduce visitors to the art form of Tlingit oral tradition. These oral performances tell the story of the Raven myth, and include original music and sound effects to further enhance the visitor experience. Audio components will be available in a variety of formats, depending on the needs of each individual venue.

Raven and the Box of Daylight takes visitors on an experiential journey with Raven, and the transformation of darkness into light. Artworks by Preston Singletary, inspired by the creation myth and Tlingit art, are enhanced by exhibition text and audio-visual experiences. Since these components will work together to realize a very specific narrative and visitor experience, Preston Singletary and staff at Museum of Glass are available to work with each venue to address site-specific elements of the exhibition.

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