Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight
March 3, 2023 — July 2, 2023
Special Exhibition Galleries
Visual art and theatrical storytelling will converge at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Raven and the Box of Daylight.
The immersive exhibition features the work of internationally acclaimed glass artist Preston Singletary and tells the Native American story of Raven and his transformation of the world—bringing light to people by means of the stars, moon, and sun.
“Before here was here, Raven was only named Yéil. He was a white bird and the world was in darkness…”
Through an immersive, multisensory experience, Raven and the Box of Daylight takes visitors on a journey of transformation from darkness to light. In addition to Singletary’s striking glass artworks, the exhibition features storytelling combined with original music, coastal Pacific Northwest soundscapes, and projected images.
Preston Singletary’s work fuses time-honored glassblowing traditions with Pacific Northwest Indigenous art to honor his ancestral Tlingit heritage, a tribe in southern Alaska. Tlingit culture and oral tradition has a rich history of pairing objects with foundational stories and histories of tribal families. By drawing upon this method of visual storytelling, Singletary’s art creates a unique theatrical atmosphere in which each object follows and enhances an unfolding narrative.
Visitors follow Raven, witnessing the story of how he brought light to the people by releasing the stars, moon, and sun. The story holds great significance to the Tlingit people of the North Pacific Coast. By retelling this story through his monumental glass artworks and installations, Singletary immerses the museum visitor in the innovation of oral tradition.
“Glass is uniquely suited for telling a story about the origins of light in the world, given the material’s luminous and brilliant qualities,” says Carolyn Swan Needell, Ph.D., the Carolyn and Richard Barry curator of glass at the Chrysler. “In Raven, the glass and the story enliven one another to make an exceptionally compelling experience.”
Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight has been organized by the artist and Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington. It was guest curated by Miranda Belarde-Lewis (Tlingit/Zuni), Ph.D., and the multisensory visitor experience was designed by zoe | juniper.