Sulton Rogers (1922-2003)

Sulton Rogers was a Mississippi folk artist noted for his imaginary, misshapen, and sometimes erotic woodcarvings. Rogers was born and raised in Oxford, Mississippi, and worked as a carpenter in Syracuse, New York. He returned to Oxford in the early 1990s, gaining renown as a sculptor.

The carvings of Sulton Rogers mirror African Art in several ways. He frequently distorts the faces of his figures and exaggerates the teeth. Often they represent caricature carvings. Likewise, some of the best-known works from the Congo are small power figures. These figures stand with arms close to the body in a staff, frontal pose and are embellished with readily available materials. Many of Sulton’s statuettes are freestanding figures made in a similarly rigid style. Like figures produced in the Congo, Sulton’s carvings are embellished with materials found at hand, including paint, wire, string, and bits of leather.

While the artwork of Sulton Rogers finds its roots in African art, he created his own world born out of tradition with a modern twist. He was a folk artist who came of age at a time when traditional arts were still handed down through the generations.