Charles Albert Huckins' Favorite Artwork
This submission of a favorite artwork comes from Charles Albert Huckins, an active photographer in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area who has maintained the Stonelight Images web site for the continuous exhibition of his photography since 1999. He writes:
Although I, along with your other readers, have many favorite works of art, time and circumstances require me to narrow my submission down to two anonymous works few people have ever seen before.I will publicly testify that in my opinion these works not only merit being salvaged, but in doing so represent a triumph of art over adversity, in a sense.
Masquerade - © 2005 Charles Albert Huckins
Three Graces - ©2003 Charles Albert Huckins
Though virtually unknown, both of these works are priceless, in my opinion.
“Masquerade” is a painting on cinder block, replete with symbolism and, for me, is as enigmatic as the Mona Lisa. “Three Graces” is an ink drawing on enameled steel plate and has a dignity and simplicity of line that make it spell-binding. Although both are figurative works, they have all the energy and spontaneity of the abstract Gee’s Bend quilts, now so rightfully esteemed as icons of American folk art.
Both works were created by unknown former inmates of the Youth Correctional Facility of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections site in Lorton, Virginia. The entire prison facility was decommissioned in 2000 and has been owned and converted to other uses by Fairfax County since August, 2002.
What makes these remarkable works of art so unique at this time is the possibility of their being unavailable for future generations to appreciate firsthand.
In the process of transition from a prison complex to a multifaceted community resource, a number of intriguing artifacts within the prison’s walls have necessarily been destroyed. However, these two works of art, and several others scattered around the prison site, are still intact and salvageable.
Fairfax County is currently seeking input regarding the artistic value of these and other works before a final decision is made about whether or not to save them. Perhaps some of your credentialed readers might care to weigh in on the artistic merits of these works?
If any of your readers would like to express their opinions about the art-worthiness of these works in writing, I, as a volunteer assisting Fairfax County in the documentation of prison resources, will be happy to forward all such comments to the appropriate County authorities. I may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perhaps the Youth Correctional Facility of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections can simply isolate and protect these works, but leave them exactly where they are, maybe adding some wall text next to them so that future generations can be inspired and learn from the artwork of those who created it in far from enjoyable circumstances.