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DEREK WEBSTER

1934-2009

    

"VooDoo King"                2005

Salvaged objects on a decorative plate with plate holder. $295.

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Born in Porto Castillo, Honduras, and raised in Belize, Derek Webster came to the United States in 1964 to look for a new life. His parents had been refugees who had moved him to Belize and a child. As a young man, Webster had worked as a freighter quartermaster, a job that took him to such ports of call as Haiti, Cuba, Portugal, Venezuela and Liberia.

Once settled in the US, he started working as a maintenance man, producing no artwork of any kind until 1978, when he bought his present home on Chicago’s Southside for himself, his wife and daughter. The purchase sparked an urge to decorate his house and yard with creations from his imagination. Webster used pieces of wood and objects thrown away by others to make elaborate constructions he places in his home and yard. The influence of Webster’s Caribbean upbringing and freighter travels is evident in the bright colors, exaggerated figures and found objects dominant in the pieces he called his “family.”

I met him in 2007 when I went to Chicago specifically to find him. I had seen his work in a show in Altanta and became fascinated with the clearly voodoo imagery.

From an article about Webster's first serious collector: "One of the early figures looks much like Webster's brightly painted abstract man currently on display in the "Outsider Art" show at the Chicago Cultural Center. Some of the others look like menacing little goblins with twisted wooden hands reaching out for the flesh of the living. A sawed-off broomstick penis protrudes from one; another has eyes on the side of his head; a third, chalk white, rests his crooked knee on what looks like a skull. Waggoner says the figures remind him of the Haitian art created by voodoo practitioners, and he's hung paintings by Haitian artist Antiliome Richard to point out the similarities."

 

       

"Carnival Queen" and "Singing Shaman"

Both constructed of found objects and both featuring the costuming of religious and secular icons.

"Carnival Queen" is free-standing 24" wide and 42" tall ($550.)

"Singing Shaman" is 10" x 26" ($425.)

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"Magic Lady"     2005

This piece was done after Mr. Webster's stroke in 2004. The universal rendering of female personalities is expressed in Webster's terms.

Paint and found objects on formed wood panel.

22" X 38"     $525.

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Derek Webster had some success during his lifetime. When my sister went to visit him he insisted that we go see a show of his work at the Beverly Art Center. Only after we had purchased from that show would he allow us to purchase from him. It was important to him that his work was shared with the public.

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