Raven stealing the light from a great chest held by the Chief of the Sky and releasing the light to the world is the most universally known story of the Northwest Coast. It also serves to describe the many characteristics of Raven as trickster, meddler and as a creature who has transformed and continues to transform the world. In my discussions with Lewis we found this same concept to be universal and both versions merged into this sculpture.
In the Maori world, Tāne is a god with many responsibilities. It was Tāne who gave light to the world. Tāne and his brothers were trapped between the embrace of his Earth mother Papatuanuku and Sky father Ranginui. The embrace was so tight that no light could get between them. Tāne was tired of this existence so he devised a plan with his brothers to separate them. At the same time, they pushed and pushed until they separated Ranganui and Papatuanuku allowing light to the world. Ranganui’s tears after being separated from his wife Papatuanaku fell as rain onto the world to sustain life for the flora and fauna, the children of Tāne.
Collaboration for the Fire & Water: Pacific Visions in Glass and Jade exhibition, 2007.
Collaborations between great artists are historically rare, despite frequent attempts and enthusiastic interest to bring technical skills and artistic chemistry together. In the end, it often seems that personal careers, distance, and other issues make these projects too difficult to realize. What makes this particular collaboration even more remarkable is that the two artists are geographically in different hemispheres — almost at polar opposites of the world.
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