Aaron F. Henderson

Aaron F. Henderson

Visual Artist Aaron F. Henderson produces a remarkable body of art, which brings to life the brilliantly vibrant colors that are so much a part of African and African American culture. His ambition is to capture the powerful, spiritual and expressive feelings of his themes and to transfer them into passionate images for his viewers. Aaron has been painting for more than 40 years and has dedicated much of his life to studying and
creating art.

He is a narrative artist and when viewing his work, one often sees classic “life stories” unfolding in the faces and the movements of his subjects. His goal is to show his audiences a compelling interpretation of his narratives. This is accomplished through Aaron’s exquisite use of color to create works of art, which convey emotions, harmony and rhythm. Aaron is fully aware that he has been blessed by God with an extraordinary talent. His objective is to obtain knowledge, and use his God-given talent to reflect all of his experiences, dreams and visions through his work. Most recently his work has been featured on HGTV’s ‘Ground Breakers’ and acquired by the permanent collection of the Franklin G. Burroughs – Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He earned a B.S.E.E. (Electrical Engineering) degree from Tuskegee University in 1971.

Selected Works

Masks Series

This series is based on the legend of Ganga Zumbi, which occurred during the Transatlantic slave trade. Ganga Zumbi was the general of Queen Nzinga’s army in Angola. Queen Nzinga fought for many years to prevent the Portuguese from overtaking her nation. As the Portuguese fought they began to make headway and started capturing some of the Angolan people.  Legend states that the Queen told Ganga Zumbi to allow himself to be captured and enslaved, so that he could free his fellow country men. He followed orders and slowly began to free the captured. They slowly built there own army in the jungles of Brazil. They built communities in the rain forest and painted their faces to ward off their enemies. The faces in this series are tribute to Ganga Zumbi and his army. It is said that Ganga Zumbi was never captured and to this day is freeing oppressed people around the world.

Afrolantica Series Narrative

The Afrolantica Series is loosely based on a book by Dr. Derrick Bell entitled Afrolantica Legacies. In the book, Dr. Bell speaks about the mythical lost continent of Atlantis. He says, “From Afar, the beauty of its vista offered immeasurable bounties. Explorers from around the world, eager to claim this new land for their countries, learned after near tragedies, try as they might, they could not survive it’s heavy and oppressive atmosphere. Afrolantica appeared an appropriate name for the miraculous new land following the discovery that only African Americans descent were able to breathe and survive there. The first black visitors reported a sense of well being, a “euphoria of freedom”, one called it, that they had never known in America.

From this, Henderson took Afrolantica to be a place of paradise for people of African descent. He began to think about how this place may look. The plant life would not resemble any previously known plant life. The very colorful shapes are my interpretations of plant life (flowers) in this Paradise; they are random and do not have a constant shape or color of traditional plant life. Dr. Bell was a law professor at Harvard University and used stories such as the story of Afrolantica to teach his students about ethics and the legalities around these hypothetical stories.