Work of the Week — “Possum and Babies” by Minnie Adkins

Monday, April 16, 2018

by Sadie Allen

Often on my nighttime drives I am confronted by a scampering beast known to many as the Opossum. Some view them merely as trash thieves or even giant, ugly rats. However, some, including Minnie Adkins, see the intrinsic beauty in their being, as shown in her wooden carving Possum and Babies. This piece features a mother possum with a straight tail with two babies hanging off her in an upside down manner. Despite her gums flashing red and her teeth being visible, the piece still has a charming and almost cute aura about it.

Minnie Adkins was born in Isonville, KY in 1934. After the increased loss of coal mining jobs in her area, she soon began carving pieces that reflected her home and her community. While she carved various woodland creatures, she is best known for her depictions of red foxes and for her elegant horses. Now, with the help of her second husband Herman Peters, she works to create steel animals as well. Her works are in the permanent collections of the Kentucky Folk Art Center, The Craft and Folk Art Museum of Los Angeles, and many more institutions. Her pieces are even owned by Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby and Barbara Streisand.
From now on, every time I see a scurrying friend run across the street, I will remember this charming and unique piece that Minnie Adkins created. Her work portrays the value in creatures often unwanted in society and makes their good qualities evident.

Artwork above: Minnie Adkins, Possum and Babies, 2005, Wood, Carved and Painted, 9.50 x 40 x 4.6 inches . 2009 Art Nouveaux Purchase. Permanent Collection. 2010.01.04.32.