Huff children showcase parents’ art
Photo by Felecia Piggott-Long
BY FELECIA PIGGOTT-LONG
FOR THE CHRONICLE
More than 80 art enthusiasts came out for the Winston-Salem Urban League’s First Friday Pop-Up Gallery honoring the family of James and Earnestine Huff of Huff Art Studio.
Jasmine Huff, show curator, and daughter of James and Earnestine Huff, presented her documentary “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” from her master’s degree completion at Northwestern University.
James Perry, Winston-Salem Urban League CEO, wanted to honor the art work of the family after he saw their craft during the 2016 Kwanzaa observance at the Urban League.
Since 1972, the Huffs created award-winning art that has been exhibited in museums across the world and solicited by renowned collectors, such as Attorney Willie Gary. Earnestine’s “Madonna and Child” is featured in the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The painting is taller than the walls of the building.
“At the Kwanzaa event, I was just blown away at the art Jasmine had for sale. I am not from Winston-Salem. Her parents were artists, and this is their art,” said Perry. “This husband and wife both did art, and they were both respected for their work as an African-American couple. As I talk to people around the community, I recognize what an incredible jewel they are for this community. We need to pay tribute to them while we still have one of the Huffs still working.”
Jasmine Huff, 22, graduated from Salem College in 2013, where she wrote a thesis and began her documentary. However, she completed the documentary as a graduate student from Northwestern University in 2016. She and her brother Quentin Huff are still involved as artists in the Huff Art Studio. Jasmine recalled fond memories of growing up in a home of artists.
“I remember the first time my dad let me cut glass for a frame. I am sure I was too young to do so.
But I never forgot it. He often showed me how to shrink wrap pieces of art as well. I learned about landscapes from my childhood. As a child, I learned the business,” said Huff. “I had this dream of seeing art as something you can interact with.”
Jasmine Huff created the documentary in loving memory of her mother Earnestine Rainey Huff, and it features clips from her father James Huff, who is now in a nursing facility since having a stroke in 2012. Some of the quotes that James Huff makes in the documentary are taken from “Voices and Viewpoints,” by Denise Franklin from Wake Forest University. Other quotes come from James Huff as he is today following his illness. According to Jasmine Huff, the documentary garners varied responses.
“I get different responses from varied audiences after they see the documentary. This audience was more appreciative of the footage,” said Jasmine Huff.