PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas October 2020

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HUMAN STORIES On the heels Of being awarded a prestigiOus artpace residency in san antOniO, fOrt wOrth artist letitia huckaby draws parallels between the past and present with her shOw at liliana blOch gallery, "5 paper dOlls: a cOntempOrary tale." By ReBecca SheRman. poRtRait LauRen WithRoW. O n the morning of September 15,1963, an e x p l o s i o n rocked the pre- d o m i n a n t l y B l a c k 1 6 t h S t r e e t B a p t i s t c h u r c h i n Birmingham, alabama. the Ku Klux Klan had detonated dynamite under the church steps, with 200 congregants inside awaiting Sunday services. the blast injured 20 people, including 10-year-old Sarah collins, who lost her right eye. the bodies of four girls between the ages of 11 and 14 were discovered under the rubble, all killed while changing into their choir robes in the basement restroom. they were addie mae collins, cynthia Wesley, carole Robertson, and Denise mcnair. public outrage and grief over their deaths led to the passage of the civil Rights act of 1964 and the Voting Rights act of 1965 — pivotal moments in the fight against segregation and racism. Bringing their killers to justice, however, took well into the 21st century. Fort Worth artist Letitia huckaby was inspired by these events for her new body of work, "5 paper Dolls: a contemporary tale," which opens at Liliana Bloch Gallery this month. "the show is timely because people are talking about Black lives and reexamining our history," huckaby says. "and we have an election coming up. i feel like it's a great time to have this conversation." the work features huckaby's own daughters and three of her young friends as models, and references paper dolls which were popular among young girls of all races in the 1960s — except back then, paper dolls were always white. the poses, the props, and even the materials huckaby uses all have current cultural relevance. these are presented using styles from the artist's entire body of work, including photography, silhouettes printed on vintage flour sacks, and embroidery hoops. Letitia Huckaby at her home in Benbrook, near Fort Worth 64

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