(1906 - 1990 )

 

Willie Massey was born in 1906 in Salem, Kentucky. He worked for nearly seventy years on a local farm for the same family, who eventually deeded him his house in gratitude for his services. During the time he worked as a tenant farmer, he learned to make things to meet practical needs and to satisfy his creative energy. He began to create sculptures and paintings after his wife died in 1955. Willie created many different art forms and images using found objects and materials. He is well known for his colorful multilevel birdhouses made from old boards, his wingless birds made from aluminum foil and painted with enamel, and his airplanes. He died in 1990 as a result of burns suffered in a fire in his home. His art was included in the exhibition "African-American Folk Art in Kentucky". His work is included in many permanent collections, including the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Morris Museum of Art and the Kentucky Folk Art Center.
 

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