Portrait Mask depicting Old Man, c. 1990
by Glen Rabena, adopted Haida
alder, horse hair, pigment
10” (with hair 17”) x 7” wide x 5” deep
Glen Rabena was born in Wapato, Washington. He began carving in Northwest Coast style in Seattle in 1970. The following year he moved to Quesnel, B. C. During 1975 and 1976 he studied at the Kitanmax School of Northwest Coast Art at K'san.
In 1978, he completed illustrations for The Birds of K'san by Susan Marsden and the Gitksan Studies Advisory Group. These proved to be the foundation for his popular birds serigraphs. Though more illustrative than traditional, Glen's ability to capture the spirit of his subject makes his prints much sought after by both Northwest Coast and Wildlife collectors.
In 1986-87 Glen worked with Robert Davidson and his brother Reg Davidson. Projects included various private commissions and the three totem poles at Pepsico's World Headquarters in Purchase, N.Y.
Glen was adopted into the Eagle Clan by Hereditary Haida Chief, Claude Davidson, at a potlatch in Massett, Queen Charlotte Island in November, 1987. He helped Reg carve the first pole in modern time to be raised at a potlatch for the naming of a chief.
During the fall of 1990, Glen and Reg were Artists in Residence at Headlands Centre for the Arts in San Francisco, where they carved a thirty foot canoe.
Currently Glen spends most of his time carving wooden masks, boxes, and bowls for private collections and galleries. Glen is also a fine engraver in silver and gold and a talented painter on wood and hide. These media Glen treats in more traditional mode. He has been commissioned to produce ceremonial objects to be used and given away at potlatches.
Glen lives with his wife and family on Hornby Island, B. C.