Readers Write: Raven and the Box of Daylight, a Creation Myth

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Family Story Totem by Preston Singletary. Photo by Russell Johnson

A while ago I visited the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian located in the historic Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, across from Battery Park.

I love the space within this building. There, more than usual, I was amazed by an exceptional solo exhibit featuring the glass artwork of Preston Singletary, who is a N.W. Coast Native American Tlingit artist from Washington State.

The powerful impression of the exhibit has been with me ever since. My limited words cannot adequately describe the extraordinary talent with the credit the artist truly deserves.

All of Mr. Singletary’s works, ranging from over six feet tall to small figures, are finely crafted of glass, poured, blown, cut, forged, and handcrafted with great loving care, shaped into the most delicate luminous creations. Each tells a story both personal and cultural—this is living art, of the highest possible quality.

I am honored to be able to share two photos generously provided by the artist that serve to exemplify his art. My poem “Raven and the Box of Daylight, a Creation Myth” is inspired by it, and is the name of the current exhibit at the Wichita Art Museum. In 2021 the exhibit will feature at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian located in Washington DC.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the art, photos, my poem, and encourage everyone to visit the artist’s website: http://www.prestonsingletary.com/

Raven and the Box of Daylight, a Creation Myth
The glass art of Preston Singletary, N.W. Coast Native American, Tlingit

Intense color hits a thousandfold with luminosity
that resides in the earth, air, water, and spirit world,
all the elemental forces of life sourced from deep time,
their gathered stories replace what has been missing.

I walk down a long corridor leading to another room
and stop in my tracks, enriched and amazed,
as a large space opens a door closes behind
and slips away.

I can feel my center expanding, pure and enduring,
all that I have known falls away while peace
and wholeness reign, as if I am freed
from a darkened world.

Giving rise to the brightest thought,
the purest breath,
the brightest joy exploding into more joy,
the strongest hope—

The real miracles of a dream-cycle
creating stories that remain alive in memory
undimmed by the ravages of ages.

Stephen Cipot
Garden City Park

Grey Heron. by Preston Singletary. Photo by Russell Johnson

 

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