Our identities are deeply informed by the homes in which we grew up, by the people who raised us, by how we look, all without being exclusively defined by any one of those elements. The three friends Justin C. Henry follows in “Sojourn,” a short video, bear this out. They wander together and alone through town, hang out at home, play with young family members and pets, self-administer medicine. We see their bedrooms and living rooms and kitchens. A viewer, not actually knowing any of these kids, might make assumptions about them based on what is shown on screen, but because the video is presented as a two-channel piece, it’s clear no view is final, no conclusions complete. A person is always so much more than this, than that, than any one thing. In “Utopia,” an unrelated black-and-white photograph, a young Black man, possibly one of the friends from the video, lies back in a river, partially submerged, eyes closed in what can only be described as sheer bliss. A person is that, too.
—Lori Waxman 10/14/23 4:37 PM