As the Collections Manager at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, I love being able to see, and being familiar with so much of our collection of over 30,000 historic objects and archival materials. We have dolls, baskets, patchwork, militaria, fine art, photographs, letters, rare books, and many more items, and I have favorites in almost every category. But it’s a somewhat rare occasion that any of my favorites get put on exhibit for the world to see. That’s because exhibits have to have a cohesive theme and design. They are built around an idea, and objects are chosen that best represent the idea. The objects have to be visually interesting and they have to complement the other objects on display. So even though I love a certain purple patchwork jacket, or a particular historic letter describing pioneer life in Florida during the Second Seminole War, they may never fit into an idea for an exhibit that is hatched by the folks that hatch exhibit ideas here.
I admit that’s not my area of expertise. So I’m thrilled when my favorite pieces fit well into an exhibit, as they will later this month when we display the work of Thomas Storm Sr. in our Mosaics exhibit. Mosaics is an exhibit that showcases different Florida Seminole artists throughout the year, sometimes up-and-coming artist or youth from the local schools, and sometimes more established artists like Thomas Storm. We have 8 pieces of Mr. Storm’s art in the collection. I love his bold colorful style, the political statements embodied in his work, and the unique media he chooses.
My favorite piece is “The Tracker”
I’ve always had a fondness for pastels as a medium, and I love the muted colors, shading, detail, and perspective in this piece.
Another of my favorites is “We are America” / “Bondage Still in America”
You may not be able to tell from this picture, but this piece was done with pencil and ink on a manila envelope. The media choice has such and impact in person and really matches the emotional message conveyed by the artwork, not to mention that he has the best signature ever:
Mr. Storm is a man of many talents, and I’d like to share one more of my favorite pieces to illustration this. It’s a brochure from his alligator wrestling days. You may not see it in the exhibit, so enjoy it here….
You can see more of Mr. Storm’s work on exhibit here at the museum from September 28st to January 2nd. Please come by to see it and the rest of our exhibits. And if you would like a behind-the-scenes tour to see more of my favorites, just let me know!
Tara Backhouse, Collections Manager