64 Parishes

Summer 2021

A Happy Reopening

The Masur Museum reopens with an exhibit from Letitia Huckaby

Published: May 28, 2021
Last Updated: August 31, 2021

A Happy Reopening

Letitia Huckaby

Letitia Huckaby, Sharecroppers Duplex, 2017, pigment print on fabric with vintage embroidery hoop.

Nestled along the banks of the scenic Ouachita River in Monroe, Louisiana, sits the Masur Museum of Art. Due to a tornado that caused destruction to the building and grounds in 2020, the museum has been closed to the public for repairs. However, the museum will happily be opening back up for a new exhibition entitled Letitia Huckaby: parish. This exhibition draws heavily from Huckaby’s series 40 Acres . . . Gumbo Ya Ya, which consists of images taken in rural Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Also featured are works from Huckaby’s Shop Rags series, and a multimedia quilt entitled Mississippi Mud. The exhibition examines the landscape of the rural South, the realities and longings of a neglected culture, and the hopes and dreams passed on to future generations.

The title for her series 40 Acres . . . Gumbo Ya Ya is a reference to Union General William Sherman’s promise to formerly enslaved African American farmers and an expression that means “everybody talks at once.” According to Huckaby, this choice of words for the title of her series is “referencing broken arguments (just words) and the continual discussion (everybody talking at once) about the Blues originating past.” Huckaby’s work reaches back to the history of slavery and poverty in the Deep South and overlays it with the places and inhabitants still affected by that painful legacy today.

Letitia Huckaby is a photographer who prints her work onto cotton fabric, which is often then transformed into quilts, sacks, or dresses. She also, as in the image seen here, uses heirloom embroidery hoops to frame these photographs; the fabric on which the work is printed is often vintage as well. As Huckaby states: “I love pushing the boundaries of photography, by using a traditional practice in an untraditional way and hopefully creating a new visual language.” Huckaby has earned degrees in both journalism and photography, a choice which initially inspired her work to be photojournalistic. She soon began to look inward and explore herself and her family in her work, as well as her African American roots, especially focusing on faith, family, and legacy. Huckaby’s work has been exhibited both nationally and overseas, and she has participated in artist residencies as well.

Letitia Huckaby: parish will be on view at the Masur Museum of Art through August 7, 2021. A public reception with an artist’s talk will be scheduled at a later date. Admission to exhibitions at the Masur Museum of Art is always free. Learn more at masurmuseum.org.