Robert Cargo
Self-taught, visionary, and outsider artists of the South
African-American quilts Haitian spirit flags

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After 30 years of continuous operation, the Robert Cargo Folk Art Gallery has closed.

I am pleased to announce the December 2013 gift of the Robert Cargo Folk Art Collection and the Robert and Helen Cargo African American Quilt Collection to the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama. It is my hope that this gift honors the life-long passion of my parents as well as the creative spirits of these artists. May their shared legacy be enjoyed and celebrated for generations to come.

Caroline Cargo

Robert Cargo Folk Art Collection Birmingham Museum of Art / Alabama

This collection of over 700 works emphasizes major groups by Alabama self-taught artists Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Rev. Benjamin F. Perkins, Sybil Gibson, Fred Webster, Mose Tolliver, with representative works by additional celebrated Alabama folk artists. Also included in the collection are paintings, drawings, woodcarvings, and sculptures by self-taught artists from the Southeast and from Appalachia, plus a group of Haitian Voodoo Flags personally selected by Robert Cargo over the course of a number of trips to Haiti in the 1980's.

Minnie and Garland Adkins

S. L. Jones

Leroy Almon

Charlie Lucas*

Richard Burnside

Carl McKenzie

Howard Finster

Benjamin F. Perkins*

Albert Freeman

Herbert Singleton

Sybil Gibson*

Mary T. Smith

Denzel Goodpaster

Henry Speller

Ralph Griffin

Jimmy Lee Sudduth*

Carolyn Hall

Mose Tolliver*

Joe Hardin*

Derek Webster

Bessie Harvey

Fred Webster*

Rev. J. L. Hunter

Artist Chuckie Williams

James Harold Jennings

Jeff Williams

Bernice Sims*

Haitian Voodoo Flags

*denotes Alabama artist

The Robert and Helen Cargo African American Quilt Collection Birmingham Museum of Art

These 118 African American quilts, all from Alabama, include important examples of work by:

  • Nora Ezell, recipient of the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts

  • Mary Lucas, mother of acclaimed Southern outsider artist Charlie Lucas

  • Jeff Martin and Dennis Jones, unusual examples of African-American men who ventured into territory typically dominated by women

  • Mary Maxtion, Lureca Outland, and many other African American quilt makers from Alabama.


             Rev. Benjamin F. Perkins