Old Man Henry by S. Christopher James, ©2021. 9 x 12 inch. Available as a limited-edition giclee print. This is also available as a limited edition of only 14 hand-pulled, 9 x 12 inch, six-color screenprints.
Old Man Henry was named from a folktale of the legendary John Henry. John Henry is a legendary figure deeply rooted in American folklore. He is often depicted as an African American railroad worker who achieved fame for his remarkable strength and prowess. According to the popular folk song and various versions of the story, John Henry competed against a steam-powered drilling machine in a race to dig a tunnel through a mountain. Despite his impressive efforts, John Henry triumphed over the machine but sadly succumbed to exhaustion and passed away soon after. His tale symbolizes the struggle of workers against industrialization and the lasting legacy of determination, resilience, and the human spirit in the face of technological advancement. If he had survived, I imagine him always working as a steel-driving man into his older years as so many laborers will do.