Listen as exhibiting artist Alicia Henry and guest curator Daina Augaitis discuss Henry’s expansive practice and the ideas explored in her exhibition, Witnessing, on now at the Kamloops Art Gallery. Recorded at the Kamloops Art Gallery on Saturday, October 1, 2022.
For the last two decades, Alicia Henry has been exploring unconventional approaches to portraiture, using the face to represent something that is hidden, revealed, and performed. In Witnessing, Henry’s compelling compositions are drawn from a multitude of references: the artist’s own memories, her collection of West African masks, and events on the street or on television, to name but a few. Imbued with her perspective as an African American woman, the figures assert themselves as timeless witnesses reflecting a variety of personal and social histories.
Alicia Henry: Witnessing is initiated, organized, and circulated by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, in collaboration with the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Kamloops Art Gallery.
Originally from Illinois, Alicia Henry lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Her work has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions at institutions around the world. She has received many awards such as the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, Ford Foundation Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, and, most recently, the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art. Henry received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, her Masters of Fine Art at Yale University, and completed a residency at the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Henry is currently Professor of Art at Fisk University in Nashville, one of the oldest black universities in the United States.
Daina Augaitis is a Canadian curator whose work focuses on contemporary art. From 1996-2017, she was the chief curator and associate director of the Vancouver Art Gallery in British Columbia, Canada. In the last decade Augaitis has organized solo exhibitions of artists such as Rebecca Belmore, Stan Douglas, Brian Jungen, Song Dong, Ian Wallace, Gillian Wearing, Paul Wong, and Yang Fudong, and thematic exhibitions that have featured socially based works. She was formerly director of the Visual Arts Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts, where she organized residencies for artists and curators, and has held curatorial positions at the Walter Phillips Gallery, Western Front, Convertible Showroom, and Franklin Furnace.
Kristen Gardner is the School Programs Coordinator at the Kamloops Art Gallery; she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Thompson Rivers University (2022) and a Digital Art and New Media Diploma from Selkirk College (2017). Gardner is a multi-media visual artist currently residing in her hometown of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, colonially known as Kamloops, British Columbia.