Sulton Rogers
(1922 - 2003)
 
Sulton Rogers was born in Oxford, Lafayette County, Mississippi. His father was a skilled whittler and taught him to carve animals and canes at a young age. In 1941 he married, and he subsequently fathered ten children. Eventually he moved to Syracuse, New York, where he worked at a chemical plant. He started carving again to stay awake during his night shift at the plant. Fellow employees were taking his finished carvings so he started carving coffins. He retired in 1984 and returned to Mississippi.

Rogers carved his figures from soft woods with a pocket knife. He would use a wood burning tool to add hair and facial features. He made creatures with animal features and human bodies, but his favorite subjects were people. They often had oversized grotesque features, long wagging tongues and noses and devilish grins. The men were dressed in suits and tuxedoes, the women were voluptuous with tight fitting dresses. His figures are amusing and disturbing. He referred to his carvings as "haints" and would sometimes make "haint houses" with many related carvings. Sulton Rogers said he carved human figures based on people he met in his travels and by his dreams, which he called “futures”.

Sulton's carvings are included in the permanent collections at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Mississippi, the African American Art Museum in Dallas, Texas, and the University Art Museum in Lafayette, Louisiana. His work has also been included in several museum shows, including "Black Art -- Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in African-American Art" at the Dallas Museum of Art, "Passionate Visions of the American South" at the New Orleans Museum of Art, “Amazing Grace: Self-Taught Artists from the Mullis Collection” at the Georgia Museum of Art, and the American Visionary Art Museum.


Ref: Rosenak, "Contemporary American Folk Art - A Collector's Guide"; Sellen, "Self Taught, Outsider and Folk Art"

 

To view individual carvings with dimensions and prices from our exhibition "A Gathering of Haints - Sulton Rogers 1922 - 2003" January 5th to February 21st please click here

Sulton Rogers Gathering of the Haints