Artist brings new light to the Raven legend

Post image for Artist brings new light to the Raven legend

June 13, 2013

Raven Brings the Light
By Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd
Harbour Publishing, 48 pages, $19.95

Reviewed by Susan Hawkins

Occasionally, a story comes along that resonates throughout generations regardless of age, belief, or cultural and national identity. How the Raven brought light to the world is one of those stories. Celebrated First Nations artist and storyteller Roy Henry Vickers has teamed up with his good friend and historian Robert “Lucky” Budd to create a book based on the millennia-old story. It belongs to the people of the Northwest Coast and has been passed along in the oral tradition for thousands of years.  This new book tells the story with text and eighteen stunning new images.

As the legend goes, at a time when darkness blanketed the land, a boy named Weget is born who is destined to bring the light back to the Earth. With the aid of a raven skin, Weget journeys to the sky where he tricks the Chief of the Heavens and steals back the daylight and returns it to Earth. The legend has been traced back at least 3,000 years and images of Weget’s journey have been found in petroglyphs along the Skeena and Nass Rivers. This version of the story was told to Vickers when he was a teenager by Chester Bolton, Chief of the Ravens, from the village of Kitkatla around 1975.

“I’ve heard it since I was a very, very young man, so it has been part of my life,” Vickers said in a recent CBC radio interview. “And now as an elder, I see that it’s not only the physical light of the sun that it talks about, but it’s a spiritual light. It’s the light of truth. And because I’m about living my life as truthfully as possible this is the story I chose to put into this book.”

Raven Brings the Light is a stunningly beautiful book, and according to Robert Budd, is only the first in a series of traditional stories to be developed by this accomplished duo.

Roy Henry Vickers unveiled his large collection of new prints at Raven Brings the Light: A Roy Henry Vickers Art Show & Book Launch with Robert “Lucky” Budd, at Madrona Gallery, Contemporary and Historic Canadian Art, 606 View Street, Victoria in May.

Susan Hawkins is completing her PhD in History in Art at the University of Victoria. 

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: