Artist Napoleon Jones-Henderson recently installed a sculptural series, “Rhapsody in Knowledge,” in front of Roanoke’s Melrose Library. In this conversation with BOOK CITY ★ Roanoke‘s Douglas Jackson, the artist reflects on the role of books and libraries in his life, including the experience as a child of hearing Gwendolyn Brooks read poetry at Chicago’s Hall Branch Library and the impact of the writings of James Baldwin on him as a young artist in Paris.
A founding member of the AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists), Jones-Henderson discusses music, art, and the sense of purpose that connects the ten member artists, whom he’s considered family for the past 50 years. “All artists start out with a place they want their work to go… Only through the interaction and relationship with others does that work actually grow and manifest into what you want it to be in the end.”
Hear Jones-Henderson on the people and books who have shaped him and the responsibility he feels for passing it on.