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Big Raven

Big Raven, 1931
oil on canvas
87.0 cm x 114.0 cm
Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Emily Carr Trust
VAG 42.3.11
Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery
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Not far from the house sat a great wooden raven mounted on a rather long pole; his wings were flattened to his sides. A few feet from him struck up empty pole. His mate had sat there but she had rotted away long ago, leaving him moss-grown, dilapidated and alone to watch dead Indian bones for the two great birds had been set, one on either side of the doorway of a big house that had been full of dead Indians who had died during a smallpox epidemic.
Bursting growth had hidden house and bones long ago. Rain turned the dust into mud; these strong young trees were richer perhaps for that Indian dust. They grew up round the dilapidated old raven sheltering him from the tearing winds now that he was old and rotting because the rain seeped through the moss that grew upon his back and in the hollows of his eye-sockets. The Cumshewa totem poles were dark and colourless, the wood toneless from pouring rain.

Klee Wyck 1941

PERIOD / STYLE: Early Totems (1911-1913)



1971 Emily Carr: a centennial exhibition celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of her birth organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery travelling to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (cat. 45)

1990 Emily Carr National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

2006 - 2008 Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon collaboration between the Vancouver Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa travelling to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the Glenbow Museum, Calgary (cat. 62)

LOCATION: Haida Gwaii map