Bessie Harvey

    Bessie Harvey (1929-1994)

Bessie harvey,Self-taught Outsider Artist,  was born in 1929 in Dallas, Georgia, the seventh of thirteen children. She married at fourteen, moved to Tennessee, and had eleven children for whom she struggled to provide.

As a relief from the rigors of motherhood and an abusive, alcoholic husband, she would late at night take tree roots and branches and bring out the images that she saw in them. She would create "dolls" in wood - often adding glitter, beads, and pieces of her own hair. She often "meditated" during the creative process and through her visionary art made communion with God. She also had a strong interest in her African heritage and often named her pieces from an African-English dictionary.

During her later years, well-aware of the popularity of her work among collectors, she took to carrying yellow business cards advertising "Folk Art Sculpture." Yet, during a 1989 interview for Antique Magazine, she was quick to stress that "I've got a free spirit and I won't be under nobody's thumb. Nobody will conquer me."