Janet Olivia Henry

Janet Olivia Henry

Janet Olivia Henry (b. 1947; East Harlem, New York) is an artist and educator who lives and works in Queens, New York. She was educated at the School of Visual Arts and the Fashion Institute of Technology, and received a fellowship in education from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In partnership with filmmaker Linda Goode Bryant, Henry designed and produced Black Currant, a magazine that highlighted the experimental work of artists who were showcased by the Just Above Midtown gallery (JAM). She was a member of the Women’s Action Coalition (WAC), a feminist open alliance that sought to address issues of women’s rights through direct action. She participated in WAC’s drum core and currently co-leads a Project EATS drumming group. Henry is a life-long educator and has worked at the New York State Council on the Arts, the Studio Museum in Harlem’s education department, the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, the Lower Eastside Girls Club, Children’s Art Carnival, and the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School.

Henry has exhibited work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; New Museum, New York; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Newark Museum, New Jersey; Artists Space, New York; P·P·O·W Gallery, New York; and Just Above Midtown, New York. Her work has been reviewed and featured in The New York TimesThe New YorkerHyperallergic, and Smithsonian Magazine, among others.



Mixed-media installation with a doll of Lieutenant Uhura from Star Trek with the makeup removed, wearing a Barbie robe, socks with slippers, and scarf; miniatures of a fan, books, camera, apples, cheese, shells and starfish, wooden chair, benches, stools, baskets, pots, watering can, gardening tools, staghorn fern, orchids, philodendron, gesneriads, rabbit’s foot ferns, night-blooming cereus, cacti, serrated-leaf plant, oval-leaf plant, crassula, Boston fern, Easter cactus, and a palm

20¼ x 20½ x 15¾ in.



Braided and woven waxed brown nylon thread, white pot metal cylinders, and huishi from Kenya, black commercial glass seeds, Fulani marriage beads (Czech glass teardrops) from Mali, brass and copper bicone (kirdi) from the Cameroon and Ethiopia, Guinea Conakry coconut shell discs, Afghani leather charms, carved wooden beads from Brazil, Tagua nut sliced drops and chips from Brazil, African amber, copper flat rectangle, seed shells and caps, silver bicone from Kenya, braided waxed red linen thread, Bond paper, clear vinyl, white glass from Ghana, red white hearts made in Venice and traded in the Philippines, red dyed coral, white glass spheres

39 x 7½ x 7½ in.


The Studio Visit

Mixed-media installation with “the artist” (doll of Lieutenant Uhura from Star Trek), “the curator” (doll of Spanky from Our Gang with a 1960s Barbie wig), and miniatures of an easel, two wooden melon crates, stretching canvas instructions, sousaphone, bottle of Evian water, goblet, corkscrew, wine bottle, lamp, loaf of bread, wooden kitchen cabinet, rice cooker, folding chair, kitchen sink, vegetables, fruit, red shelves, paper towels, cans, bottles, kente cloth rug, nightstand, radio, frog, hair dryer, dictionary, juju box with brass light bulb, hand mirror, perfume bottle, red bra, flash light, bracelets, espadrille, wire hangers, futon, clothes, book, trunk, pillow, a stack of newspapers, hen, refrigerator, straw fruit basket, woodburning stove, kettle, frying pan, coffee table, kerosene lamp, ashtray, tumbler, Barcelona® couch, sneakers, and oil pastel and colored pencil drawings on brown rice paper

14 x 19.5 x 21.5 inches



Independent New York: Janet Olivia Henry, Otis Houston Jr., Sanou Oumar, Ken Tisa

May 11–May 14, 2023


a b c d
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Gordon Robichaux