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 others, including Minnie Adkins, see the intrinsic beauty in their being, as shown in her wooden carving Possum and Babies. This work 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 sculpture still has a charming and almost cute aura about it.
Adkins was born in Isonville, KY in 1934. After the increased loss of coal mining jobs in her area, she soon began carving works that reflected her home and 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 in Los Angeles, and many more institutions. Her works are even owned by Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Streisand.
From now on, every time I see a scurrying friend run across the street, I will remember this charming and unique sculpture that Adkins created. Her work portrays the value in creatures often unwanted in society and makes their good qualities evident.
~Contributed by by Sadie Allen, communications intern