An Examination of Traditional Narrative Motifs in African American Bas Relief Wood Carved Folk Art: the Material Folk Culture and Art of Elijah Pierce

John F. Moe (The Ohio State University, retired)

I focus on the bas relief wood carving by Elijah Pierce (1892-1984) investigating the extent to which African American folk material cultural materials draw on traditional narrative belief motifs existent in the Black community historically and contemporaneously. Throughout, I will draw upon the Aarne –Thompson folk motif approach to narrative study in order to illustrate some of the origins of Pierce’s painted wood bas relief carvings. The focus will be in part to demonstrate the historic impact of narrative folk motifs on the material folk culture within and throughout the Black community and the Black experience in the United States.

Part of 02-11 Reconsidering Folk and Self-Taught Art, Thursday, October 13, 10:30 am–12:30 pm