Edward Kay began to carve totem poles and other complex figures during Prohibition when he traded a fifth of whiskey for some wood-working tools. Until 1977, when he moved into an apartment, many of his more than 100 totems stood outside his home in Michigan. Political parody was a favorite subject for Kay. To provide background for his political works, Kay frequently produced free standing collages using photographs, clippings, and texts.
Lynda Roscoe Hartigan Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection in the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990)