Raven's New Gagabamolh (Button Blanket) Print
This limited edition art print on white paper, features an etched raven and the sun. Above, letters made from formline shapes spell "RAVEN". The story of this print includes both traditional and contemporary parts. The upper portion has Raven and the Sun partially hidden by his gagabamolh (button blanket in the Haisla language). This part refers to the legend of "Raven Releasing Daylight". This is one of his most famous adventures and since that time, Raven has become synonymous with Northwest Coast culture. Raven's formal potlatch name, Wee-git, means "Great Man". This is a pun since he was vain, egotistical, lazy and greedy. Raven's role in history became that of a metaphor of human weaknesses because of such undesirable traits.
Born in 1955 in Butedale, BC, Lyle Wilson grew up in the Haisla community of Kitamaat Village. As a boy, he was fascinated by the work of his uncle, carver Sam Robinson. While training to be a teacher at the University of British Columbia in 1976, he was further inspired upon discovering the wealth of First Nations art at MOA. Transferring to art school, Wilson obtained a diploma in printmaking from Emily Carr College in 1986. Much of Wilson’s work explores the boundaries of tradition, and he is highly praised for his experimental and distinctive compositions.
Wilson served as the artist-in-residence at MOA for many years and has become a major figure in rebuilding recognition for painted art, old and new. He also creates works in carved silver, wood and steel. Wilson's work has been showcased in many museums, galleries and public installations.
- Limited edition intaglio print
- 11.5” x 8"
- Edition of 50
- Frame not included
“Stretching across the picture plane is the edge of a traditional button blanket. A row of expensive, circular, shell buttons is sewn within the blanket's borders to decorate and display his wealth. At a potlatch, button blankets were used as a "curtain" to shield part of a dancer's performance and to ceremonially introduce a new blanket to guests. Displayed on a blanket was a highly prized clan crest. In this case, Raven decided to show his importance by appropriating the more contemporary letters of the English alphabet, which spell out his regular name.
In the past, Raven's over-size ego led to him many downfalls and this latest story is no exception. In his haste to claim the letters as his personal property, he failed to properly learn his A, B, C's. The letter "E" is backwards. To make matters worse, Raven's blanket is being displayed publicly so everyone can witness his mistake. In life, as in Northwest Coast art, the sin of being in a hurry means mistakes are inevitable. Sad to say, like many of us, Raven is still trying to learn that lesson.” —Lyle Wilson, 2010