From ancient times through to modern tales, by way of Poe and even the graphic novel, corvus corax, the common raven has held a special – if mixed – place in the tales and mythologies of the northern hemisphere.
For some, they are seen as the companions of deities, or even the embodiment of deities – a trait perhaps drawn from their intelligence: not only are ravens natural social in their nature, they have also been known to use other birds and animals to their advantage, such as calling wolves to strike down easy kills and then cleaning up what’s left once the wolves have had their fill.
For others, and perhaps more widely in more modern times and doubtless arising from the fact they are – like their cousins corvus corone, the carrion and hooded crows -, carrion scavengers (although they are also omnivores), they are associated closely with death, witchcraft and dark arts.
In this latter regard, modern-era horror stories, poems (such as Poe’s famous The Raven) films and Halloween have also served to help make this time of year the one in which we perhaps think of ravens more than we might at other times of the year. Hence why the Ravenheart Museum, owned and curated by Talus Ravenheart, is currently hosting a mixed media exhibition A Conspiracy of Ravens.
Primarily located on the ground floor of the museum, A Conspiracy of Ravens offers an engaging look at the role of the raven through human history and mythology, with seven perched ravens acting as guides. Featuring photographs, drawings, paintings, illustrations and note cards, the exhibition includes a look at the realities of the raven and a bird, its interweaving into folklore a older mythology as a harbinger, familiar, deity and reputation for intelligence, as well as their roles in lore – notably that of the British Realm – and horror (Poe once again), and even their use in stamps around the world.
The art – reproductions of illustrations from books through to sketches and photographs and including a trio of CybeleMoon’s beautiful multimedia pieces – is richly diverse and presented as a series of seven themes, each with one of the aforementioned raven guides (you can find the last two upstairs). Click on each raven, and you’ll receive a note card on the theme presented by the accompanying images. Further, several of the items presented to support some of the displays, and even pieces of the art, will either also offer a note card when clicked, or take you to a web page where a story might be found.
Elegant in its presentation, A Conspiracy of Ravens offers engaging insight in our relationship with the raven, and for those who enjoy haunting and spooky tales that might include a raven or two, at 19:00 SLT on Tuesday, October 15th, the exhibition will be hosting Caledonia Skytower from Seanchai Library, who will be reading a series of short stories in The Spooky Classics.
And while visiting, do be sure to take in the magnificent (and I gather permanent) display of Libertine Eggs. Featuring the entire collection of these fabulous miniatures by Ali Baroque, each smaller than an average avatar’s head, this is also an exhibition that really requires first-hand viewing to truly appreciate the intricate beauty in each of the 60+ eggs on display.
- Ravenheart Museum (Rosehaven Laudanum, rated Moderate)