Pierce The Spirit

Renowned folk artist and wood carver, Elijah Pierce (1892-1984), the youngest son of a former slave, was born on a cotton farm in Baldwyn, Mississippi. He would die an acclaimed artist in Ohio 92 years later. He learned to carve wood at the young age of 7 using a pocketknife that his father gave him, then for another 85 years perfected his life-long practice of woodcarving. These works show his keen observation of daily life, his wry humor, and his later-acquired religious devotion. Over the course of his life, he would create an entire “zoo” of imaginatively carved animals, hundreds of carvings depicting day to day life in the communities in which he lived and traveled, and in his most famous work, The Book of Wood, many carvings about the life of Jesus. POBA now displays some of the carvings from this masterfully hand-carved “good book.” His talents as an artist were only discovered by the public during the last decade of his life, when he was recognized by the Ohio Arts Council for his exceptional contributions to Ohio folk arts. See more of Pierce’s works.