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Kin Folk

30 x 22 inches mixed charcoal on paper

In “Kin Folk,” Washington depicts a sharecropper family completing a typical day’s work on the land.  The father, protector of the family, is prominently featured in the foreground. He holds a stoic gaze that not only indicates his worries for the well-being of his family, but also a steely resolve for a better life. The mother stands in the back by their child, who has stayed home from school to help work the land.

Given the circumstances of the time and the poor resources available to sharecroppers, infant mortality amongst sharecropper newborns was extremely high. Washington acknowledges this horrid fact in “Kin Folk,” depicting a cross-shaped grave in the distant background of the field -- which houses a deceased member of the family that was tragically lost at birth.


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