‘He would have been proud’: South Shields mum to appear on Sky’s Landscape Artist of the Year show in tribute to son

After the tragic loss of her son, a South Shields artist was inspired to apply for her favourite TV show in the hope of making him proud.
Janine Henry, from South Shields, takes part in Sky's Landscape Artist of the Year show in Newcastle.Janine Henry, from South Shields, takes part in Sky's Landscape Artist of the Year show in Newcastle.
Janine Henry, from South Shields, takes part in Sky's Landscape Artist of the Year show in Newcastle.

Janine Henry, of Captain’s Wharf, is one of two South Shields artists set to appear in the new series of Sky’s Landscape Artist of the Year.

The show sees presenters Stephen Mangan and Joan Bakewell travel the country on the look-out for Britain’s best landscapes.

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In episode five, set to air on Tuesday, November 12, Janine is one of several wildcard artists who will take on the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle competing to reach the semi-final.

Janine Henry with son Zak Henry.Janine Henry with son Zak Henry.
Janine Henry with son Zak Henry.

If successful, Janine and Steven Wood, of Tyne Dock, who is also appearing on the show, will be in with a chance of claiming the top prize – a £10,000 commission to create a landscape artwork of Venice for Royal Institute of British Architects.

However, for Janine, appearing on the show was never about winning.

She’s taking part as a tribute to her son, Zak Henry, who took his own life in 2017, at the age of 22, after struggling with anxiety.

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“I’ve always wanted to do it, I love watching the programme, but when I found out that Zak thought I was a good artist I wanted to do it for him,” said Janine, who was getting a tattoo in his memory when she was told Zak had been praising her work.

Janine Henry with son Zak Henry before his death.Janine Henry with son Zak Henry before his death.
Janine Henry with son Zak Henry before his death.

“After losing him, knowing that he was proud of my work has given me a bit more confidence to have a go,” she continued.

“I think he would have been proud.”

Janine says Zak’s family and friends are still in shock two years on from his death.

“He had such a brilliant character,” she said.

Janine Henry with son Zak Henry.Janine Henry with son Zak Henry.
Janine Henry with son Zak Henry.

“Young people could be going through all kinds of problems you don’t know anything about.”

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Now considering applying for next year’s show, Janine says she would love to be able to turn her hand to painting full-time.

“It would be healing if I could paint every day,” she added.

“It’s very calming, you can just switch off, but it still feels very indulgent - I always feel like I should be doing the ironing instead.”

Janine Henry and son Zak Henry.Janine Henry and son Zak Henry.
Janine Henry and son Zak Henry.
Artists take on the Tyne Bridge, Newcastle for Sky's Landscape Artist of the Year showArtists take on the Tyne Bridge, Newcastle for Sky's Landscape Artist of the Year show
Artists take on the Tyne Bridge, Newcastle for Sky's Landscape Artist of the Year show