Hattie Duncan folk art featured at Delta Heritage Center
BROWNSVILLE TN (June 22, 2018): Hattie Duncan’s folk sculptures are well known throughout the West Tennessee art community. She has been the subject of numerous shows and featured in a “Creative License” segment, a television series on Tennessee artists. Beginning July 5, her works will be on display at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. “Artwork from the Ship of Ophir” will feature sculptures and wall hangings by the Jackson native. The public is invited to meet the artist at a special reception in her honor Thursday, July 12, 4-6 p.m., at the Center.
“This is the first time Hattie’s work has been shown in Brownsville,” says Sonia Outlaw-Clark, director of the Center. “We are looking forward to introducing her art to the community as well as our guests from all over the world.”
Duncan remembers her father, a sharecropper, “was always sketching” in his spare time. Following his lead, she also spent her early years drawing maps and selling them to classmates for a nickel. As a self-taught artist, she began making her own canvas from easily accessible items such as cardboard and paper pulp. Little did she know that the canvas experiments would form the basis of her future sculptures using what she refers to as “paper clay.”
Duncan is a master recycler, using egg shells, coffee grounds, pine cones, milk jugs and more to form the base of her colorful characters. Whether her sculptures are fashioned after a family member or someone in the community, there is always a story behind her pieces. Sometimes her work takes on the shape of shadows or other shapes from her imagination.
Whatever the form, Duncan credits her abilities to her relationship with God. “Once I learned to forgive,” says Duncan, “my art really began to come alive.”
The show’s title “Artwork from the Ship of Ophir,” is based on the Bible story of Solomon sending his ships to the Island of Ophir to bring back gold, precious gems, peacocks and other treasures. Like Ophir, Duncan feels her art “is a gift I am meant to share.”
More than 20 pieces will be on display during the seven-week exhibition that closes August 26. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Everyone is invited to the July 12 reception to meet Duncan. For more information, contact the Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000 or visit westtnheritage.com.
CAPTION: (Left) Jackson folk artist Hattie Duncan, with one of more than 20 sculptures and wall hanging that will be on display July 5 – August 26 at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville.