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Famed Folk Artist O.J. Samuels Showcases Private Collection of Life-Size, Wood Sculptures
3/8/2013 1:07:37 PM

O.J. Samuels with life sized sculpture (photo by Peter Schreyer)

 Self-taught and nationally recognized African- American folk artist O.L. Samuels will present an exhibition of his elaborately carved wood sculptures this April. 


“Preaching to the Trees and the Animals: The Folk Art of O.L. Samuels” will be hosted at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center in Winter Park Friday, April 19, through Saturday, Sept. 7.  Samuels will meet and greet guests at the opening reception Friday, April 19, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Center.


The exhibition will showcase work from Samuels’ private collection in Tallahassee, as well as two pieces from the permanent collection of the Mennello Museum of American Art in Winter Park.


“It is a great honor for Crealdé to bring this collection of work from one of Florida’s most celebrated folk artists to the Heritage Center to kick off our Folk Art and Craft Festival in Hannibal Square, “said Peter Schreyer, executive director of Crealdé School of Art. “I had the  privilege to hand select the exhibition pieces during a studio visit in Tallahassee last summer and most of them will be shown in Central Florida for the first time.”


The exhibit kicks off the 4th Annual Hannibal Square Heritage Center Folk Art and Traditional Craft Festival on Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


A former professional boxer and tree surgeon, Samuels found his love of art and nature at an early age. As a child, Samuels would carve small animals out of wood and give them away as Christmas presents. After suffering a tragic fall on the job 30 years ago that left him paralyzed for three years, Samuels returned to his roots and love of nature to redevelop his talent as an artist. 


Samuels’ sculptures of animals have been exhibited and collected in more than 30 countries throughout Europe, China, Africa and the Middle East. His work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s Folk Art Museum and the White House in Washington, D.C.

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