Henry Frison - 40 years being a Black Portland Painter
Public reception for show of artwork by Henry Frison, local African American artist
The public is invited to meet artist Henry Frison, and join greenHAUS gallery + Boutique staff, neighbors & friends to celebrate the life-long art career of a local African American artist. The event will take place on
Saturday July 29th from 7 – 10 pm at greenHAUS gallery & boutique at 18 NE Killingsworth St.
Refreshments, including wine, will be offered. This is a family-friendly event & children are welcome. This unique exhibit of Henry Frison’s is both a retrospective of one man’s personal career as a fine artist, and a chance to recall Henry Frison’s participation in a group of Portland African American artists who used public murals to educate and uplift their community. Henry’s paintings for the 1977 Albina Mural Project (five 20 ft x 20 ft murals on a building on the corner of N. Vancouver & NE Alberta St) were of two profound themes:
incorporated images representing the timber industry, cattle ranches & dairy farms and the close relationships between African Americans and NW indigenous people. Henry visually represented his experience growing up in a ranching family in Texas as well as local history. His
mural illustrated marches led by Martin Luther King Jr and Ralph Abernathy and the violent police repression in response to African Americans demanding their rights. This year mural programs in other US cities have taken time to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of Chicago’s 1967
Wall of Respect
mural. This collage-style painting depicted nearly a dozen African American heroes & community leaders in a variety of fields (music, sports, religion, politics). When
magazine published a photograph of the mural, it inspired Black artists around the US who understood the value of positive public images in often impoverished neighborhoods. The
Wall of Respect
mural was crucial in sparking a vibrant community mural movement that continues today. To see Henry Frison’s private portraits of President Obama; Martin Luther King Jr.; Rosa Parks; Prince; Michael Jackson and other iconic Black figures, is to appreciate important moments of American – and Portland- history. To recall his Albina Mural Project murals - once prominent visual landmarks in the thriving African American community of NE Portland also brings regret that until quite recently there were many other socially conscious Black murals, now lost to gentrification.