May - July 2008

LeRoy Henderson


Anti-Iraq War Series, Washington D.C.
2005, Gelatin silver print
"Protest," an exhibition of evocative black and white photographs by LeRoy Henderson that capture the deep and conflicted emotions of anti-war protests, will open at the E.M. Bannister Gallery, of Rhode Island College, on May 29th. The works will remain on view through July 11th.

Henderson, a committed "people-oriented photographer," is showing images from two separate bodies of work and time -- the Vietnam War and the current war in Iraq. Both visual journals reflect his strong interest in documenting human behavior in acts of opposition to warfare. Henderson seeks in his images a common relevance between these two historical conflicts; similarities and differences in the protests against each war are the underpinning of his photographs.

In his quest for directness and authenticity, Henderson has created work that is part research, part inspiration. The two series in the exhibition represent formal documentation of raw emotional truth as recorded the moment Henderson first glimpses it and realizes his own desire to make it into a photographic statement.

His imagery provides a graphic depiction of the broad swell of human energy, and its contagion, as well as close-ups of faces in which a cognitive transition seems to be taking place. Henderson's photographs suggest gatherings of people joined in unanimity with deliberate quiet energy hinting at surety and commitment.

Even though he is shooting and chronicling historical activities, Henderson likes each image to be independent. "I look for good strong images that allow the viewer access to the stages of both world and street theatres," he says.

"Familiar sights and sounds reminiscent of protest during the Vietnam War are now drifting back loud and strong as people protest this war in Iraq," Henderson asserts. "The implication is the same."

Presenting a stark reminder of how the past repeats itself, Henderson says, "we can't see the future but with photographic images we can certainly see the past.

"Hopefully my work is visually engaging as it runs the gamut of time, emotions, ethnicity, gender and age. I want to capture something behind the obvious in the story...evoke allusions that intrigue others' value systems."

Henderson lives and works in New York City. A native of Richmond, Virginia, he received a bachelor's degree from Virginia State University and a master's degree from Pratt Institute. He also attended the School of Visual Arts to study photography and film.

Henderson's work has been shown in many group exhibitions, including Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers, an exhibition organized by the Brooklyn Museum of Art. He is represented in many public and private collections, including The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, and the Harpo Collection, Chicago, Illinois. He shows regularly with the June Kelly Gallery in NYC.

Join the artist in discussing the power of art, specifically his own, in shaping political issues and what in his photographic work moves the public to action. J. Bela Teixeira, independent curator, will moderate the discussion with Henderson at the Bannister Gallery's reception for Protest.

Opening: Thursday, May 29th
Reception: Gallery Night, June 19th,
5:00 to 8:00 pm

Page last updated: Friday, July 25, 2008