Örjan Henriksson, an award-winning Swedish photographer, is one of two artists scheduled to speak at James May Gallery in Algoma to launch a month-long exhibition of their work. The Artist Talk is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at the gallery, 213 Steele St., Algoma.
Henriksson’s “Auschwitz KZ I-II” was awarded the Micael Bindefeld Foundation Prize, handed out by a member of the Swedish Royal Family, Prince Daniel. The exhibition includes specially composed music by Pär Gunnarsson and arranged by Henriksson, who also has had a successful career as musician.
The exhibition opened at Liljevalchs Konsthall in Stockholm and then toured to several museum and art galleries in Sweden.
“I was exhorted for more than 40 years by my father to learn about the time before the Second World War. This is to recognize the signs of the time, if they would emerge again,” Henriksson says in a statement that accompanies the work. “To the seemingly beautiful, black and white, tranquil photographs depict a brutal inhumanity became the theme of my work.”
The suite of photographs is not intended to be documentary, merely his personal expressions of a week spent visiting Auschwitz camps 1 and 2, one of the most notorious Nazi death camps of World War II.
“My photographs want to portray the emptiness after all those humiliated, tortured, and murdered in Auschwitz,” he said. “These are no ostentatious images that scream out loud. Instead I let the walls and surfaces depict the total silence that only death leaves behind.”
Henriksson’s work will be exhibited alongside new minimalist landscape paintings by Kyle McKenzie, professor of art Missouri Southern University, who is also scheduled to speak at the Artist Talk.
“Through painting, I explore the subtlety and solitude found in often-mundane situations and places,” McKenzie said. “These paintings depict the house where I grew up, common family gatherings, patches of ground, and stripped down landscapes. I am drawn to subjects that allow me to ruminate on their subtleties without the intermediaries of direct narrative or symbolism.”
In addition to the preview Artist Talk, an opening reception for Henricksson and McKenzie is scheduled for 5:30-8 p.m. Oct. 4 as a “First Friday in Algoma offering. It is free and open to the public.
Photo: Örjan Henriksson, from his website; Auschwitz photo and painting courtesy Visit Kewaunee County