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The Power Plant

ALICIA HENRY: WITNESSING

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“Varying shapes and sizes of dyed and treated leather are stretched and cut into a spectacular array of heavily stylized faces, their contorted expressions evoking everything from African ceremonial to Venice plague masks. This community appears to be suspended between emerging and disappearing. They are caught in an intermediate space where anything and everything is possible.”
—Karen Alexander, p98

The 9th title in the Power Plant Pages series, this publication was produced in collaboration with the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in conjunction with the exhibition Alicia Henry: Witnessing, curated by guest curator Daina Augaitis, organized and circulated by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and first presented 26 January to 12 May 2019.

For the last two decades, Alicia Henry has worked with felt, leather, paperboard, canvas, and many other textiles, creating expressive and unconventional approaches to portraiture. Made from cutting, stitching, and layering textiles, the two-dimensional figures in Henry’s work are often grouped into compositions which reveal notions of gender, family, and community. These compelling compositions are drawn from multiple references, including the artist’s own memories, her collection of West African masks, or events from television. Imbued with Henry’s perspective as an African American woman, the figures assert themselves as timeless witnesses reflecting a variety of personal and social histories.

This publication features texts by Karen Alexander, Dr. Kimberly Wallace-Sanders, and Gaëtane Verna, as well as an interview between Alicia Henry and guest curator, Daina Augaitis.

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