August 20, 2012

Rainbow Spirit Mask by Jing (Rob Long)

When browsing Vancouver's galleries or enjoying the diverse collection of First Nations materials at UBC's Museum of Anthropology, you may notice the occasional rainbow design. From prints such as Joe David's 1977 Memorial Rainbow Drum to Tim Paul's The Rainbow People mask, rare works are created with this joyful motif. The inclusion of rainbows in Northwest Coast Native art is, however, more than an effort to imbue works with a sense of mirth. The rainbow can be found as a recurring theme within art produced by some southern cultures (such as the Nuu-chah-nulth), where it is respected as a potent natural phenomenon in the same vein as thunder, lightning, and earthquakes. 

Jing's Joyful 'Rainbow Spirit' Mask

The rainbow is also a sub-crest within Haida culture. There are several myths that describe Rainbow as a supernatural being, affiliated with Raven. This mask by Jing (Rob Long), available at Lattimer Gallery and titled Rainbow Spirit, is an homage to these cultural myths. Carved from Alder and exquisitely painted, this mask exudes a cheer that will brighten up even the most overcast Vancouver day! It measures 13" x 8 ½” x 5 ¼” and is available for $2,000.00 CAD. Jing has been working with celebrated Haida artist Robert Davidson since 2009. He has been involved in Haida song and dance since he was three, and he currently dances with the Rainbow Creek Dancers. Rob has worked with Ben Davidson, David R. Boxley, Lyle Campbell and Jordon Seward. In 2008, Rob won the 2008 Frank O'Neil Visionary Award.

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