Hawkins featured in museum

Published 3:00 am Friday, March 20, 2015

A large number of paintings from Dr. Doug Hawkins’ collection of Moses Tolliver’s folk art will be exhibited at the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art in Tuscumbia March 22 through May 8.

The opening reception will be from 1 until 3 p.m. Sunday with a gallery talk by Hawkins at 2 p.m.

Hawkins has been a collector of folk art for more than 20 years and has an extensive collection of Moses Tolliver’s work.

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Ninety-six of Tolliver’s paintings will be on display in the “As MoseT Would See It: Expressions Through the Life of Moses Tolliver” exhibition.

Stephanie Qualls, museum curator, said the Tennessee Valley Art Association is excited to bring a collection of this kind and one with so much depth to the area.

“As far was we know, Dr. Hawkins’ MoseT collection is the quintessential collection,” Qualls said. “His collection of more than 200 MoseT’s is significant and, for us to be able to display nearly 100 of those in North Alabama, is very exciting.”

Qualls said MoseT, whose work is in the Folk Art Museum in New York, is loved and revered throughout the state and the nation.

“To be able to see this depth and breadth of MoseT’s work under one roof is something special,” Qualls said. “And, Dr. Hawkins’ generosity and his willingness to travel a long distance for the gallery talk is fantastic.”

Qualls traveled to Troy a couple of weeks ago to take the artwork back to Tuscumbia and enjoyed spending time with Hawkins.

“Dr. Hawkins is very knowledgeable of and enthusiastic about folk art,” she said. “He is not only a collector of MoseT’s artwork, he was a friend. So it will be fun and interesting for him to talk about his relationship with MoseT and have him share insight into the folk artist’s life.”

Qualls said folk art has been and will continue to be at the heart of the people of Alabama. The love and appreciation Alabamian’s have of folk art is inborn, she said.

“I have moved around quite a bit, and I’ve never lived anywhere that the residents of a state love folk art like Alabamians.”

Hawkins said he is excited about the opportunity to share the artwork of Moses Tolliver at the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art.

“MoseT was one of the greatest folk artist of our time. Maybe ‘the’ greatest folk artist,’” Hawkins said. “He painted life as he saw it, and he didn’t always see life the way most of us see it. It was a honor to know him.”

Hawkins said what makes folk art unique to other art forms is that folk art is actually story art.

“Every painting, every piece has a story, and the artist is always eager to tell the story,” he said. ‘I was privileged to hear so many stories of MoseT’s art. I just appreciate the opportunity to exhibit his work and share some of his stories in hopes that others will appreciate his work and him even more.”

When the “As MoseT Would See It” exhibit leaves Tuscumbia, it will travel to Hanceville where it will be exhibited at Wallace State Community College.