Radcliffe Bailey – Atlanta’s Own International Artist

Photo of Radcliffe Bailey by Tijana
Radcliffe Bailey. Photo by Tijana.

Radcliffe Bailey

Radcliffe Bailey is a world-renown contemporary American artist. His work contains mixed-media, paint, and sculpture that explore African-American ancestry and identity. Intricately, he incorporates found objects and photographs into textured compositions that address race, heritage, migration, and collective memory, thereby linking diasporic histories with potential futures. Bailey was born in New Jersey. Currently, he resides in Atlanta, GA.

Previously, Bailey’s solo exhibition Memory as Medicine was exhibited at the High Museum of Art in 2011. After, it was subsequently shown at the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Massachusetts and the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas.

Nommo (2019) - Bailey represents slavery and the ships that carried them away from Africa.
Nommo (2019) by Radcliffe Bailey. Commission for Istanbul Biennial.
Photo by Michael Rooks.

Istanbul Biennial 2019

His contribution is a wooden boat that refers to the ships that transported Africans to the West by Europeans. You can see the ship includes seven black figures on low pedestals. Additionally, the piece also features three audio installations: one is a song by the Afro-Futurist Sun Ra Arkestra. Secondly, the next piece contains the voices of workers building boats in Bay of Soumbedioune, Senegal and the sound of ocean waves lapping the shore. Finally, the jazz musician Tarus Mateen co-composed the third one with samples of different sounds.

Instabul Foundation for Culture and Arts
Radcliffe Bailey's installation at the Istanbul Bienal
The detail of Radcliffe Bailey’s poignant installation at the Istanbul Biennial.
Photo by Michael Rooks.

While working on this commissioned work, Bailey wanted to reflect on where he was currently at. In particular, he reflects and contributes to the subject The Seventh Continent. Moreover, he contemplated relics, history of slavery and migration and migrants in different places and situations. Migrants go through space and trauma, transcending to other places.

This work had another interesting aspect. Radcliffe Bailey was working with locally available materials to connect past with the present through an intangible link. Indeed, he operates within a world and through a world. He transcends borders, and continues to connect through his art globally.

Noted Museums Collections

To date, Radcliffe Bailey’s work is in the collections of:

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois;
  • The High Museum of Art, Atlanta
  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
  • The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
  • The Denver Art Museum, Colorado, among many others.


  • sazehgar

    Humans speak different languages on Earth
    And if we believe, art is an international language and has different dialects
    Bailey has a language for narration that transcends geographical boundaries
    Bailey has an accent on the language of art that has been culturally influenced by the past

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Yes, he goes into the past and creates art that begs the conversation and is very evocative. Thank you for your thoughts, he is a tremendous artist who makes poignant peaces, somehow they need to be created to reflect. Great hearing from you.

  • Gerald Clare

    Thank you for exposing to me art, people, subjects that I would never been made aware of .

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Pleasure is mine Gerald! Thank you for this wonderful little note, you made my day! Please join us vis newsletter – we send nice emails featuring amazing artists and culture travel.

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Thank you for this gracious note, it means a world, Gerald. So glad to have you as a part of our community of art and culture travel lovers.

  • Cali

    Thanks very nice blog!

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      So much appreciated- enjoy the rest of it. I am so glad that you enjoyed it.

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