October 15, 2012

Thanks for Bringing the Light?

Clinton Work, limited edition print, Thanks?, $100.00 CAD

Raven Bringing Light to the World is a familiar creation myth in many Native cultures and its story is often recaptured in different interpretations. Kwakwaka'wakw artist Clinton Work has chosen to see the story in both a positive and negative light in his first limited edition print titled Thanks?. The fractured image depicts the exact moment that Raven brought light to the world, showing the momentary transition from darkness to lightness. The formline switches from positive to negative, contrasting this change.

This piece shows how this transformation was a balance of positive and negative effects, stimulating thought about light and dark, about vanity and innocence. While light has the obvious advantage of allowing people to see their surroundings, its introduction has also caused differences of opinion on what is beautiful and what is not. Before there was light, in darkness everything was the same therefore there was no need to define things as beautiful or not; with light, now only some things are beautiful while others are not, and they are all exposed to judgment. People were able to see who had more, and who had less. Clinton has cleverly chosen the title, Thanks? to show his interpretation of the creation of light - thanks to Raven.

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