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1987 Hawkins Bolden Born: Memphis, Tennessee 1914 Died: Memphis, Tennessee 2005 galvanized iron, cotton, wood, wire, straw 38 x 17 1/2 x 44 in. (96.5 x 44.5 x 111.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of William Arnett 1993.1.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
1st Floor, West Wing

Gallery Label

Hawkins Bolden’s sculptures make a bold statement about confronting challenge with creativity. Human in scale, dotted with multiple “eyes,” raw, rusted, tattered, and soiled, they are both arresting and discomfiting.

Bolden was blinded in a childhood accident. He took to sculpting, creating a population of scarecrow-like sentinels to protect the family vegetable garden from the birds. He used cast-off forms salvaged from around the neighborhood—reinventing both the junked items and himself. 



Object - furniture - chair

Object - other - container


folk art

fabric - cotton

metal - iron

metal - wire