Fletcher Williams III
north charleston, sc
2018, Tin roof, picket fence, interior wood paneling
Courtesy of the artist
Throughout rural South Carolina, I’ve discovered countless examples of master craftsmanship, agricultural expertise, and architectural beauty. Homestead is an assemblage of various iconic materials collected during my explorations. The overall form of Homestead is representative of a multi-use barn, located near the outskirts of Walterboro, SC. It is a grand and elegant matrix of rafters, timber columns, and rusty corrugated tin. At its height, it housed grain, hogs, cauldrons, farming tools, and served as an appliance repair shop for neighboring businesses. I’ve represented the exterior structure with an exposed rafter system, comprised of reclaimed picket-fence and rusted tin roofing salvaged from a Freedman’s Cottage. The center concave segment is comprised of haint-blue tongue-and-groove siding; the platform is comprised of inverted picket fence decorated with a series of rebar hooks identical to those used by black farmers in butchering livestock.
I have used the picket fence in many of my latest works. It is an opportunity to critique and subvert a distinctly American symbol and bolster the creative practices that have allowed black communities to thrive, independent of proprietary ideas of prosperity and liberty. The picket fence is relegated to its aesthetic value and used only to elevate a cultural treasure.