Quoth the Raven

By Janet Creery

A Toronto artist who is calling herself Raven Imperative showed works to transform the symbolism of peace at the Alma Gallery in Toronto from May 11-31.

The outbreak of war against Iraq fundamentally changed Raven's vision of peace. Earlier she had accepted cheerful peace symbols, such as the dove and the rainbow. After the war broke out she turned to darker images. Drawing from Jungian psychology and native American tales, she suggests that the Raven replace the dove as the rallying symbol for peace.

In native myth it is the dark raven that fetches fire and rescues the sun. In Jungian thought we must heal "the shadow" or we will project it onto others. Shocked by the media depiction of Hussein as the embodiment of evil, the "new Hitler," Raven is creating images to probe the dark part of ourselves, and allow for a passionate grieving that can "nurture a ray of hope in the darkness within."

Her show includes a diary of wartime media coverage overlaid with her own reactions. Above it hangs a drawing of a woman turning into a bird, and across the room a painting of a raven sheltering a woman's grieving face. The series attests to the transformative power of pain. "Sometimes it's a good idea to risk getting burned" runs the text over her image of a raven on fire diving into the water.

Peace Magazine Jul-Aug 1991

Peace Magazine Jul-Aug 1991, page 27. Some rights reserved.

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