The Northwest Coast legend of the Raven
At TELUS, including art in and around our buildings is part of our ongoing commitment to contribute to the cultural landscapes of the cities and communities in which we work. We strive to build a diverse collection that includes important artworks by Canadian and Indigenous artists from across the country. We’re also creating stimulating and culturally engaging environments for our employees and stakeholders through the considered acquisition and display of original artwork, and by making art accessible in our workplaces.
From paintings, prints and drawings, to photographs, sculptures and time-based media, our national art collection features work by emerging, mid-career and senior-level Indigenous artists including: Meryl McMaster (nêhiyaw - Plains Cree), Jordan Bennett (Mi’kmaq), Sonny Assu (Liǥwildaʼx̱w of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations), Caroline Monnet (Anishinaabe), Nadia Myre (Algonquin member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinaabeg First Nation), Shawn Hunt (Heiltsuk), Don Yeomans (Haida and Métis), Susan Point (Musequem Coast Salish), Jim Hart (Haida), and Robert Davidson (Haida and Tlingit). Many of these pieces can be found at TELUS Garden in Vancouver – our headquarters located on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəyəm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. These meaningfully curated pieces are a meditation on the power of culture, the importance of history, language and self-expression and the fluidity of influence amongst other themes. Importantly, many of these works speak to our connection to the natural world, aligning with TELUS’ passionate dedication to caring for the planet our children will inherit.
In celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day, we are honored to spotlight Ts’msyen artist Phil Gray and his mural Raven Brings the Light.
Phil Gray’s background is Ts'msyen from Lax Kw’alaams in BC and Cree from Fort Chipewyan in Alberta. Phil is committed to revitalizing and promoting the artwork of Ts'msyen people. He’s most proud of the work that records the stories and history of the Ts'msyen people and that it adorns traditional regalia, organizational logos, and other community-centered work that allows him to give back and stay connected to those around him. Learn more about Phil Gray.
Raven Brings the Light
“The story begins with the Raven ascending to the Sky Chief’s house to retrieve the sun, moon and stars. This staircase symbolizes the Raven’s journey from the Earthly World to the Sky World where all of the creatures coexist, guiding you up into that world as a connection between the Earth and the Sky - the physical and the spiritual.”
- Phil Gray (Ts’msyen)
The legend of the Raven has been passed down through oral histories along the Northwest Coast for generations.
"Raven is one of the most important beings in Northwest Coast art and mythology, although the nature of his role varies from one culture to the next, and his predominance diminishes from north to south. To the Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian, Raven is the original organizer, Trickster, Transformer, teacher, catalyst and chief spirit. He is also a relentless schemer and practical joker, lustful, impulsive, cunning, shameless and without remorse" (Shearar, 2000, p. 88)
TELUS embraces the importance of Indigenous traditions, culture and knowledge as an integral part of our Canadian identity. We’re privileged to collaborate with Indigenous communities as we work to improve social outcomes for all Canadians. We recognise that we have much to learn from the experiences and knowledges of Indigenous Peoples.
Learn more about the unique cultures of First Nation, Métis and Inuit Peoples:
Photos courtesy of Douglas Reynolds Gallery.
Reference: Shearar, C. (2000). Understanding Northwest Coast art: A guide to crests, beings and symbols. Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre.
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