Tree of Eternal Life


In the Beginning


Lee Arts 

         Tree of Eternal Life
The world offers struggle after struggle,
but we know that when this life is over
we will have an eternal life free from trouble.
The people in this work look to the cross as a
symbol of eternal life. 

Walnut                                       Early 80's

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Growing up in a family of woodworkers, from Greenville, MS, my first steps as a child were toward a bowl of shellac in daddy's shop.  I grew up seeing my father, mother, brother, aunts, and uncles, repairing wood furniture.  After learning the steps to refinishing furniture, woodcarving allowed for more creativity. With the Civil Rights Movement around me, I began reflecting on the world in which I lived in Mississippi. Woodcarving bacame a way to comment on the world around me. My work is my statement.

In high school, I won first place in the Black Arts Display competition during Black History Week at T.L. Weston High School. The article appeared in the Delta Democrat Times, the local newspaper.  I knew then that I wanted the world to see my work. Later in college, I was invited to show my work at Black Expo in Chicago, IL, and to participate in the American Folklore Festival, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute.  A show and demonstration at the World's Fair in New Orleans, LA, gave me an opportunity to show the world what I had to offer.

While earning a B.A., M.P.A., M.A.T. in Sociology, and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management, I continued to keep my creative spirit alive by developing a style of my own. The work has paralleled my tenures as Director of Financial Aid, Coordinator of Enrollment Management , and Director of Admissions.  Currently I am studying for a Doctorate in Educational Administration and producing massive wood sculptures while working as Director of Student Support Services for Adult and Distance Learners.  Each chapter in my life tells a story of my career and the work produced during that period.  The work serves as a balance to my life. It will be interesting to see what the spirit of creativity will produce during this chapter of my life.  I continue to show at colleges and universitites, art and music festivals, and churches every year. It is my way of bringing the work to the people.

The work runs the gamut in themes and titles. Such titles as Mississippi Blues, I Know The Lord He Heard My Cry, The Struggle Goes On, Salute to Civil Rights, Tree of Eternal Life, Holy Father, Praise With Drum, Mojo Blues, Morality and Law, and Gumbo People represent comments on the world around me. Underlying the abstract is a conceptual message that is often religious and justice conscious.

Carving in wood allows me to express how I feel about a subject.  When the work speaks to you as it speaks to me, you should purchase it.  Contact me at (615) 336-5200 or email me at, and let's talk about it.


Wilson Lee, Jr.

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