Clifton Henri

Clifton Henri

Artist’s Statement

My practice is heavily rooted in identity, under representation and self-declaration. Intentionally focusing on portraits of Black and Brown people and the environments they live in, I visually illustrate and narrate the African diaspora using my own personal experiences and feelings as fuel.

Through my own upbringing and experiences as an African-American, I am deeply drawn to and often in conflict with the idea of “BELONGING,” within my own community, as an American and as a human. This journey is particularly reflective, soul-searching and takes you down a path of defining moments that happen in the “everyday” that I then document through my photography. This practice is where I both interpret and celebrate my blackness, humanity & wildest dreams. This journey has helped me define my place in the world and take more definitive stances on how I want to culturally, ethnically and individually be seen.

I am deeply influenced by imagery from the Civil Rights movement and the Harlem Renaissance eras, and the works of great visual storytellers, such as James VanDerZee, Gordon Parks, and Roy DeCarava, have truly helped me discover and define my style. I would describe my work as autobiographical or self-portrait in a figurative sense. Much of what I choose to photograph is based on a personal and shared experience of humanity and blackness, a thread that is willfully woven throughout my work. I challenge the viewer to find not only themselves but also the poetry in these simple yet defining stills, where everyday human stories are told deliberately through a lens where darker complexions are the Stars.

I want my photographs to speak in a language that inspires empathy, empowerment and strength while embracing themes of social justice, cultural currency and the power of perspective.

2021 Beverly Art Walk venue: 


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