Copied Ulysses Davis, Headhunter, ca. 1950-1990, carved and painted wood and rhinestones, 19 78 × 3 78 × 3 58 in. (50.5 × 9.8 × 9.2 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Margaret Z. Robson Collection, Gift of John E. and Douglas O. Robson, 2016.38.20

Artwork Details

ca. 1950-1990
19 78 × 3 78 × 3 58 in. (50.5 × 9.8 × 9.2 cm)
Credit Line
The Margaret Z. Robson Collection, Gift of John E. and Douglas O. Robson
Mediums Description
carved and painted wood and rhinestones
  • Figure — full length
  • Figure — fragment — head
Object Number

Artwork Description

Davis often explored African and African-inspired subjects—kings and queens, warriors, and tribesmen, whose images he reportedly studied at the local library. A number of African-inspired but imaginatively rendered figures draw loosely on the theme of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. According to legend, they were banished from the Holy Land by conquering Assyrians. A number of African tribes trace their lineage to the Lost Tribes, whose stories of exile resonate throughout the Black African diaspora for the connections they offer between biblical figures and people uprooted or displaced from their ancestral lands.
(We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in the Robson Family Collection, 2022)