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New exhibition takes visitors on a journey of contemporary art and Tlingit culture
Preston Singletary (American Tlingit, born 1963), Realm, Water-Killer Whale Figure, 2018. Blown and sand-carved glass, 30 1/2 × 17 × 17 inches. Photo by Russell Johnson.

TACOMA, WA.- Museum of Glass opened a new exhibition, Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight, featuring works by the internationally acclaimed artist Preston Singletary (Tlingit American, born 1963). The exhibition, organized by Museum of Glass and curated by Miranda Belarde-Lewis, PhD (Zuni/Tlingit), features new works by the artist accompanied by an immersive multi-sensory environment.

Countless generations of Tlingit children have heard of Raven’s adventures through an oral tradition that has played an essential role in the survival of Tlingit culture by preserving its rich histories and narratives. Singletary shares this story through Raven and the Box of Daylight, in which Raven, the central character, is a trickster who released the stars, moon, and sun.

Raven leads visitors on a fantastical journey through the transformation of darkness into light. The story unfolds as visitors move through the exhibition’s four environments, while listening to recordings of story tellers paired with layers of original music and coastal Pacific Northwest soundscapes. Singletary’s art creates a theatrical atmosphere in which his striking glass pieces enhance the narrative of Raven and the Box of Daylight. Backdrops of shadows and projected images complete the exhibition experience.

In addition to Belarde-Lewis, Singletary credits the music arranged by Matt Starritt and Juniper Shuey’s video installations for contributing to the overall exhibition experience.

Preston Singletary uses his mastery of European glass-blowing to create exquisite works of art inspired by Northwest Native imagery. Singletary first learned the art of glass blowing while working with artists in the Northwest. He honed his craft during residencies in Sweden and studied under Italian glass-blowing legends in Venice. He later incorporated his Native heritage to honor the stories shared with him by his great-grandparents. Singletary’s work celebrates his Indigenous culture using Tlingit design principles: creating objects that incorporate elements from the natural world to tell seminal stories and histories of individual families. Singletary adapts new materials into a seamless fusion of modern art, glass, and evolving Tlingit tradition.

Now recognized internationally, Singletary’s artworks are featured in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian; British Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Seattle Art Museum; The Corning Museum of Glass, New York; and Heard Museum, Phoenix, among others.

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