Raven N’ The City

Photo: of an art installation called Raven N’ The City
Vancouver City Centre

Raven N’ The City

By Shoshannah Greene

Image shows a detail of “Raven N’ the City” by Shoshannah Greene.

Raven N’ The City is inspired by the long historical connection so many Haidas have with Vancouver and the x’mak*ayem (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and salilweta?+ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples, from pre-contact to our contemporary lives today. Vancouver is a cultural hub for many Indigenous communities. Growing up, traveling to Vancouver was known as the “Haida Holiday” or, “going to the big city!” This piece is inspired by the feeling of the rush of leaving our small communities to visit the city. For a lot of us, downtown is one of the first stops upon arrival. There’s a moment where you stop and realize you’re not at home and there is so much possibility of what to do outside of small-town life’s routine. And no matter how many times we come back; it can always feel a little overwhelming with where to start first.

The design features Nang Kilslaas, also known as Raven, arriving in downtown Vancouver. Raven is in the process of transforming out of bird form into their human form, their true face exposed by the Raven mask opening, with human arms and hands taking shape from their wings. The shapes around Raven are abstract design forms to represent the green glass buildings of the city of Vancouver.

Shoshannah Greene, SGidGang.Xaal, was born and raised on Haida Gwaii. She is a member of the Staawaas XaaydaGaay, from Hikinil lInagaay (Cumshewa village). From a young age, Shoshannah has always had a strong drive to be creative. She pursued a Bachelor of Media Arts at Emily Carr University, with a major in hand-drawn animation. During these years, her interests shifted from classical animation to classical Haida formline. Today, Shoshannah works as a full-time artist, with a creative practice focused on Haida design, both traditional and digital painting, and illustration.

The artwork was commissioned by the City of Vancouver Public Art Program for Platforms: Nine Places for Seeing.