IllinoisHumanities

Sonja Henderson received her B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she concentrated in Drawing and Painting.  She received her M.F.A. from the University of California at Berkeley where she concentrated in Sculpture and Installation. At Berkeley, Sonja created life-size earthworks and temporal structures made of clay, earth, twigs, and stone calling attention to original architecture, feminine forms, sacred space, and cultural identity. Sonja’s installations challenge our perception of the world and societal constructs through content, context, materials, and manipulation of scale.

In Chicago, Sonja teaches K- college and creates public artwork though collaborations with artists, agencies, and communities to tell their individual and collective stories. Sonja uses “memorial” iconography and considers ideas of sacred space when creating public works of art like, The September 11th “Wall of Remembrance” exhibited at the Chicago History Museum honoring the first year anniversary of the World Trade Center bombing. Sonja collaborated on a Rwandan Girls Exchange that opened an international dialogue addressing HIV/Aids, stigma, and health and wellness. The young women in the exchange created two beautiful sister mosaic murals on a clinic in Kigali, Rwanda and Chicago’s C.O.R.E Center. Sonja also co-created The MLK Living Memorial, bringing to light the Chicago-based Fair Housing Marches and People’s Movement in 1967. Sonja believes creating public art and enriched communal spaces is a powerful conduit to healing and reclaiming one’s collective history and personal story.