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Telfair presents the first exhibition to focus on depictions of creatures, real and imagined, in the work of noted Savannah wood sculptor Ulysses Davis (1914–1990). Born in Fitzgerald, Georgia, Davis taught himself to carve wood as a child and relocated to Savannah to establish a barbershop where he created his art. This exhibition explores Davis’ sculptures of beasts inspired by biblical stories, as well as fantastic creatures that sprang entirely from his fertile imagination. Works inspired by his religious faith include Samson and the Lion, made when he was 11, as well as his final work depicting the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Davis also created decorative works with animal images, from plaques featuring astrological symbols to embellished tabletops. Davis’ imagination reached its fullest expression, however, in his whimsical carvings of animal/human hybrids, extraterrestrial beings, and horned, reptilian creatures that he dubbed “created beasts.” Visitors are invited to explore Davis’ creatures in more than 30 works drawn from Telfair Museums, the Beach Institute African-American Cultural Center, and other private and public collections.

This exhibition is organized by Telfair Museums and curated by Harry DeLorme, director of education and senior curator.

Related to this exhibition

All(3)
Event

Remembering Ulysses Davis Screening & Conversation

October 19, 2023 at 6pm Jepson Center
Join us for two short screenings about Ulysses Davis and his art including a segment from the 1976 film Missing Pieces: Georgia Folk Art and the documentary short The Vision of Ulysses Davis (2019) followed by a conversation with artists and community members.
Event

Making Marks 2023 Opening Celebration

December 10, 2023 at 2pm4pm Jepson Center
Join Telfair Museums staff and members of the Savannah community in the Neises Auditorium for the opening program for Making Marks. The program will include a presentation of Telfair’s outreach programming participant speakers from partner organizations.
Event

Curator’s Tour of Created Beasts: Sculpture by Ulysses Davis

December 15, 2023 at 2pm Jepson Center
Join Director of Education and Senior Curator Harry DeLorme for a last look at the virtuosic woodcarvings of Ulysses Davis before the exhibition closes. This event is free to Telfair Members or with museum admission.
Event

Remembering Ulysses Davis Screening & Conversation

October 19, 2023 at 6pm Jepson Center
Join us for two short screenings about Ulysses Davis and his art including a segment from the 1976 film Missing Pieces: Georgia Folk Art and the documentary short The Vision of Ulysses Davis (2019) followed by a conversation with artists and community members.
Event

Making Marks 2023 Opening Celebration

December 10, 2023 at 2pm4pm Jepson Center
Join Telfair Museums staff and members of the Savannah community in the Neises Auditorium for the opening program for Making Marks. The program will include a presentation of Telfair’s outreach programming participant speakers from partner organizations.
Event

Curator’s Tour of Created Beasts: Sculpture by Ulysses Davis

December 15, 2023 at 2pm Jepson Center
Join Director of Education and Senior Curator Harry DeLorme for a last look at the virtuosic woodcarvings of Ulysses Davis before the exhibition closes. This event is free to Telfair Members or with museum admission.
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PO Box 10081
Savannah, GA 31412
Phone Number
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