Kitihawa’s Chandelier: A Photographic Tale by Nicolas Henry is now on display at the DuSable Museum of African American History.
Kitihawa’s Chandelier is a powerful photographic tale that blurs the line between fiction and reality. The narrative honors the historical, cultural and racial fusion of an African and Native American. It celebrates the strength and resilience of women and children in the face of adversity and highlights the importance of recognizing each other’s history in our quest for a harmonious co-existence. “The creation of Kitihawa’s Chandelier involved many conversations with residents of French, African and Native American communities, all of whom believe disbanding segregation necessitates the appreciation of each other’s history. It was this common interest that led to the making of this project,” said Nicolas Henry. He continues, “Kitihawa’s Chandelier is inspired by the stories children and residents shared with me. As in any tale, it is gripping and magical. It tackles complex issues, presents valuable lessons and reflects the profound humanity of its characters.”
Using his signature visual language and unique approach to storytelling incorporating theatrical techniques, cinematic lighting, handmade prop and set making, Nicholas Henry worked in close collaboration with youth and residents in South Chicago, Bronzeville and Lincoln Square. Together, they defined what the images would portray and built installations representing their stories.
Kitihawa’s Chandelier provides a gathering place for people to embrace their history, culture and heritage, spark dialogue, build relationships and address the challenges and promises represented in the series. It helps to develop ties on a cultural level and it responds to our communities’ call to foster a deeper understanding of each other. The exhibit made its debut in part at the residence of French Consul General Vincent Floreani in September 2016. Nicolas Henry then won the Artist Residence at the Lycee Francais de Chicago and returned to complete the tale in November 2016. A permanent installation of the series now hangs in the entrance of the Lycee Francais.
The DuSable Museum of African American History is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 5:00 p.m. Admission is FREE on Tuesdays. The Museum may be reached by CTA buses #3, #4 and #55 and limited free parking is available. For more information on this exhibition visit www.dusablemuseum.org, or telephone 773-947-0600.