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Stranger Fruit

Date Apr 09, 2019
Type Panel

Join us for a critical discussion with photographer Jon Henry and writer Antwaun Sargent about the effects of police brutality on black American families and communities. The conversation will center on Jon Henry’s recent photographic series, Stranger Fruit, which captures black mothers and sons across the country in a hauntingly suspended embrace referencing the pietà, a subject often depicted in historic Christian sculpture showing the Virgin Mary cradling Jesus in sorrow. In Henry’s images the mothers and sons appear frozen in an inconceivable eventuality, a reflection of the tensions felt today. This conversation is held in conjunction with the upcoming release of Jon Henry’s work on a billboard in Times Square, through the 14x48 Project.


Antwaun Sargent is writer and critic living and working in New York City. His writing has appeared in the NewYork Times, the New Yorker, The Nation, W, Vice and various other publications. He has recently contributed essays and interviews to museum and gallery publications for artists Ed Clark, Mickalene Thomas, Arthur Jafa, and Yinka Shonibare. Sargent has lectured and been in conversation with artists at Studio Museum in Harlem, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, Art Gallery of Toronto, and various other institutions. His first book The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion is out this fall from Aperture.

Jon Henry is a visual artist working with photography and text, hailing from Queens, New York and now residing in Brooklyn. His work reflects on family, sociopolitical issues, grief, trauma, and healing within the African American community. His work has been published both nationally and internationally and exhibited in numerous galleries, including the Aperture Foundation, Smack Mellon, and BRIC among others. Known foremost for the cultural activism in his work, his projects include studies of athletes from different sports and their representations.

14x48 repurposes vacant billboards as public art space in order to create more opportunities in public art for emerging artists, to challenge emerging artists to engage more with public art, and to enliven the vibrancy of our urban environment.