Kinfolk House is the brainchild of Sedrick and Letitia Huckaby. The 100-year-old Ft. Worth home originally belonged to Sedrick’s grandmother, Hallie Beatrice Carpenter, or “Big Momma” as she was fondly known to her friends and family. The refurbished house is now an art gallery and community center channeling the spirit of Big Momma’s philosophy of home, as a place where all are invited to gather and visit. The Huckaby’s desire is that community connection “will craft a patchwork of creativity, power and culture, ensuring that the Kinfolk legacy lives on for generations to come.”
The inaugural exhibition Welcome features work by the artist couple exploring the themes of home, family and tradition. The exhibit title summarizes Kinfolk House’s mission — to introduce people to a new place or situation, while making them feel accepted or at home in the space. Welcome is also Big Momma’s maiden name, ensuring that her spirit is a driving force within the space.
The first few rooms of the house contain Sedrick’s paintings and sculptures of family members and close friends. The front room features paintings of Big Momma and Big Papa in the last days of their lives, as well as a sculpture of the Huckaby’s daughter Hallie, named after Big Momma. Many paintings were made of the rooms and in the rooms of the house. In the dining room, a sculpture of Big Momma sits at a long wooden table surrounded by foil-covered plates of food. Made from newspaper mache, the repurposed material connotes history and how family and traditions embody future generations. In many of the portrait paintings, the subjects wear T-shirts typically worn at a funeral, memorializing their loved ones. Quilts also feature prominently in the works, as reminders of family tradition and oral storytelling.
My favorite room in the house has been remodeled to resemble a church sanctuary. The stark, white-painted walls sharply contrast the natural aged wood walls and floors in the rest of the house. Church pews provide seating, there’s a piano in the corner, and also a view of what promises to be a stunning garden. On the walls are Letitia’s large-scale landscape photographs that connect to Big Momma’s past. Letitia journeyed to Weimer, Texas (Big Momma’s hometown) and photographed the spaces along the route from Weimer to Waco and Waco to Fort Worth. Printed on fabric (some of the images are mounted in large oval embroidery hoops and some backed with found quilts) the work connects the house’s patchwork history as well as all of its inhabitants over the years. Letitia’s performative journey recreating Big Momma’s move from 70+ years ago references place as signifier of origin and belonging, as well as the importance of land — staking a claim where one can build a home and a lasting legacy.
Welcome is on view at Kinfolk House in Fort Worth from March 5, 2022 – April 24, 2022.