Columbus Museum of Art

Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson: Ongoing Catalogue of Art and Exhibitions

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Curator’s comments

For more than sixty years in Columbus, folk artist Elijah Pierce (1892-1984) created woodcarvings inspired by biblical stories, animal folk tales, current events, and popular culture. He earned his living as a barber, and his shop on Long Street served as a gathering place for the city's African-American community and a gallery for his colorful carvings.

Artist’s comments

Elijah Pierce was my spiritual mentor and friend. He was a great person, a great artists, and a person who walked with integrity, and he passed on so much of that wisdom to me. And I don't think I'll ever be able to walk that kind of walk, ever. But at least I'm knowledgeable about it. I'm knowledgeable about the ways in which he inspired me, and we just genuinely liked to be around each other. There was just a connection there.

I first met Mr. Pierce in 1968 at the International American Art Association exhibition that was being held at the YWCA on Fourth Street. Our relationship blossomed in 1971, when Ursel White Lewis formally introduced me to him in his shop. He was already in his seventies, and he had been discovered locally. His radio would be on and he would be carving. I would sketch and he would talk. He knew I had a troubled heart because I had just separated from my husband. Drawing was the only thing that brought any kind of solace to my life.

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