Letitia Huckaby’s “Bayou Baroque” honors the nuns at the Sisters of the Holy Family Mother House in New Orleans, Louisiana: an African-American congregation, founded in 1842 as servants to the youth, the poor and the elderly. Their foundress Henrietta Delille broke with the traditional placage system of colored women being placed as concubines to wealthy white men in New Orleans. Inspired by the spirit of sacrifice and faith in these women, the work in this exhibition embraces a visual vocabulary that evokes old master portraiture.
“I have always been drawn to old master religious paintings, and I wanted to give these pieces the same compositional weight” says Huckaby. “The women were photographed either in front of or silhouetted by bed sheets with intricate floral patterns. Kehinde Wiley’s heroic portraits of the urban male were a huge inspiration for me and I studied his use of pattern, color and pose. Bayou Baroque is my way of honoring these women, their courage, their sacrifice and their faith with my own unique visual vocabulary.”
Letitia Huckaby holds an MFA in Photography from the University of North Texas, a BFA in Photography from the University of Boston at Lesley and a BA in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma at Norman, Oklahoma. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, the Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection at Scripps College in Claremont, California, the Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the City of Fort Worth at Ella Mae Shamblee Branch Library and the City of Dallas at the Highland Hills Branch Library.
pigment print on fabric, 42 1/2″ x 31 1/2″