Jon Henry (born 1982, Queens, NY; lives Brooklyn, NY) is a visual artist working with photography and text. His work reflects on family, socio political issues, grief, trauma and healing within the African American community. His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries including Smack Mellon and BRIC Arts, both Brooklyn; and Aperture Foundation, New York, among others. His work has been published nationally in PDN and i-D magazines, as well as internationally in Jungle Magazine (United Kingdom). Known foremost for the cultural activism in his work, Henry’s projects include studies of athletes from different sports and their representations. He recently was named one of LensCulture’s 2019 Emerging Talents and received a Continuing Film Project Award from the Film Photo Awards, sponsored by Kodak.
Statement from the Artist:
This series “Stranger Fruit” was created in response to the senseless murders of black men across the nation by police violence. Even with smart phones and dash cams recording the actions, more lives are cut short due to unnecessary and excessive violence.
Who is next? Me? My brother? My friends? How do we protect these men?
Lost in the furor of media coverage, lawsuits and protests is the plight of the mother. Who, regardless of the legal outcome, must carry on without her child.
I set out to photograph mothers with their sons in their environment, reenacting what it must feel like to endure this pain. The mothers in the photographs have not lost their sons but understand the reality that this could happen to their family. The mother is also photographed in isolation, reflecting on the absence. When the trials are over, the protesters have gone home and the news cameras gone, it is the mother left to mourn, to survive.