Letitia Huckaby: The States Project: Texas
Letitia Huckaby is an artist who uses photography in combination with textiles to tell personal and family narratives of life in the south. Often using quilts or dresses as the print media; Huckaby’s work is both beautiful and tactile. In this series, flour sacks are used to represent the only store-bought item that was used in periods of her families past.
Letitia Huckaby began her artistic career at the age of four, when her parents started her in dance classes. She studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Modern dance until the age of eighteen, and was selected to participate in the prestigious Oklahoma Arts Institute two years in a row. The exposure to a variety of other art forms led her to photography as a medium.
Huckaby holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, a BFA from the Art Institute of Boston, Massachusetts in photography and a Master’s degree from the University of North Texas in Denton. Huckaby has exhibited at the Dallas Contemporary, the Galveston Arts Center at Galveston, Texas, Renaissance Fine Art in Harlem, New York, New York curated by Deborah Willis, PhD; the McKenna Museum in New Orleans, and the Dallas African-American Museum. Public projects include a piece along the Trinity river in Fort Worth at the 4th street trailhead site, and at the new Ella Mae Shamblee branch library in Fort Worth, Texas.
As a child, my mother often told me stories from her early childhood in the back woods of Louisiana. I can remember tales of milking cows before dawn, swimming in ponds with snakes and riding hogs like horses. She also said that her family grew, raised or made everything they needed except flour. They “store bought” their flour, and my grandmother used the cotton sacks the flour came in to make new dresses for the girls. This story made a huge impression on me. What strength and creativity!
This body of work, Flour, is a tribute to the strength and creativity of several generations of women, and the men around them, who out of craftiness and necessity were and still are able to raise their families up against constant challenges, all the while thanking God. Imagery includes documentary style portraits of family members, community members from my late father’s hometown of Greenwood, Mississippi and still life shots of family paintings printed directly onto the fabric.
Flour, is the culmination of several bodies of work. It melds together different aspects of earlier art pieces that had a profound impact on me. From my “Quilt Project” the use of silhouetted image, from “LA 19” the hand quilting of the entire image, and from the “Dress Project” the idea of the constructed form.
The works are my interpretation of old master religious paintings, with their intricately rendered fabric patterns, and the visual elevation of the figure. Once again it brings me full circle to my mother, whose love of history exposed me to all that Germany, France and Holland had to offer. Her and my father took us to historical sites, museums, anything that dealt with the Holocaust and numerous old churches. I can remember standing in awe at the beauty of paintings of Mary, and wondering about every detail that went into it. It is those early experiences that have led me to this body of work. It is my hope to take a quilted portrait and normally overlooked scraps and elevate it to old master religious painting status.
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Letitia Huckaby: The States Project: TexasJuly 3rd, 2016
Leigh Merrill: The States Project: TexasJuly 2nd, 2016
Krista Steinke: The States Project: TexasJuly 1st, 2016
Diane Durant: The States Project: TexasJune 30th, 2016
Kasumi Chow and Desiree Espada: The States Project: TexasJune 29th, 2016