KAG: WitnessingSat October 1, 2022 to Sat December 31, 2022
Kamloops Art Gallery (465 Victoria St #101, Kamloops, BC V2C 2A9, Canada)
Arts & Culture, Galleries & Exhibits
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Curated by Daina Augaitis
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. Henry creates two-dimensional figures and group compositions that are commanding in their grace and expressiveness. Selecting her media carefully, she works with felt, canvas, and other textiles, as well as leather and paperboard, all of which absorb drawn and stitched gestures that register a spectrum of contexts and emotions. Notions of gender and family are significant in her works, as are physical layers that suggest multiple and unfixed identities. Tender renditions of a mother with a child appear, as do groupings of 20 or more females that signify formations of like-minded families within communities.
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.
Henry does not view her work as political but acknowledges that “at this time in the United States, the brown body has become politicized.” In her installations, composed primarily of dark-toned figures, a lingering melancholy evokes racial traumas suffered by innumerable groups and individuals, today and over the centuries. But simultaneously—through their direct gaze and erect composure—Henry’s multigenerational survivors exude a powerful strength and confidence. They stand in anticipation of an egalitarian future—a utopian goal that underpins much of Henry’s work.
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.
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.
About Kamloops Art Gallery
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The Kamloops Art Gallery is a registered charity and not-for-profit society.
Incorporated in 1978, the Kamloops Art Gallery serves residents of and visitors to Kamloops (pop. 82,000) and the surrounding Thompson-Nicola Regional District (pop. 124,000) as well as national and international audiences.
In 1998, the KAG moved to a purpose-built civic building, designed by award-winning architects Peter Cardew and Nigel Baldwin, which also houses the Thompson-Nicola Regional District offices and the Kamloops branch of the TNRD Library System. The 20,853 square foot Gallery includes 4,500 square feet of exhibition space, an admissions/store area, two multipurpose studio/workshop/lecture rooms, a packing and acclimatization area, the collection storage vault with an adjoining workroom and, on a mezzanine above, administration and curatorial offices along with a research library. In 2006, the KAG was designated a Category “A” institution under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act.
The Gallery’s annual attendance has ranged between 24,000 and 37,000 over the last five years. It enjoys a national reputation for its touring exhibitions and publications and has developed relationships with national and international artists, curators, critics and scholars. The KAG is also well respected for its exhibitions, events and educational and public programs through activities organized and presented in the community and region involving both contemporary and historical art. Its collection as of December 2012 consists of 2,700 works that primarily reflect the Gallery’s exhibition history. In 2005, the KAG co-commissioned with the University of British Columbia’s Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery Canada’s participation in the 51st Venice Biennale with the work of Rebecca Belmore.
Governed by a Board of Trustees, the KAG maintains an effective organizational structure that includes a Management Team led by the executive director, a Program Team led by the curator and a Development Team led by the manager of operations. Teams meet monthly to report, evaluate, problem solve and plan.
The Kamloops Art Gallery brings art, artists and communities together.
The Kamloops Art Gallery is the principal gallery in the Southern Interior of British Columbia supporting contemporary and historical visual arts and practices on a local, national and international level. The KAG acknowledges art to be an essential part of the human experience in nurturing a healthy society. As a leading cultural institution, the KAG is an integral part of the fabric that draws intellectual, social and economic opportunities to our province and to our region.
The Kamloops Art Gallery fosters enjoyment of and interest in the visual arts by researching, developing and producing exhibitions, publications and programs that engage, challenge and inform its various audiences. The Gallery also oversees the development and preservation of a permanent collection that includes regional, national and international art in all media. It also strives to create rewarding opportunities for visual arts professionals and the public.
- Committed to art, artists and audiences
- Collaborative, respectful and ethical
- Tolerant, inclusive and diverse
- Relevant to local and regional communities
- Striving for excellence
- Fiscally responsible