Mothership 1: Sistah Paradise’s Great Wall of Fire Revival Tent, 2002
This work is part of Xenobia Bailey’s ongoing project Paradise Under Reconstruction in the Aesthetic of Funk. Inspired by the lack of historical documentation on the enslavement of Africans in America, the artist pays tribute to the Africans who were traded as slaves. The work is the physical manifestation of a creation mythology intended to explain the presence of Africans in America, and “Sistah Paradise” is a mythological character whose struggle for emancipation mirrors the modern-day struggle of African Americans. While paying homage to the past, Bailey reasserts the African American connection to African culture in everyday life.
August 8, 2005
A freestanding ten-foot high, five-foot wide sculpture by Xenobia Bailey titled “Mothership 1: SistahParadise’s Great Wall of Fire Revival Tent,” will be on view on the fifth floor of the Brooklyn Museum fromAugust 24, 2005 to January 5, 2006. The towering artwork, which is in the form of a cylindrically shapedtent with a conical top, features brightly colored beadwork, crochet, and mixed materials. Reminiscent ofthe masks of the Dogon people of Africa, it resonates strongly with the Brooklyn Museum’s collection of African art.
Part of Bailey’s project Paradise Under Reconstruction in the Aesthetic of Funk, “Sistah Paradise’s Great Wall of Fire Revival Tent” utilizes techniques that highlight African craft traditions, while also incorporating contemporary symbols. Her inspiration for the piece is derived from a variety of influences, including the lack of historical documentation about the enslavement of Africans in America as well as revival ceremonies at Southern Baptist churches, where the connection to African heritage remains tangible.
A graduate with a degree in Industrial Design of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, Bailey has works in the collections of The Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; and The American Craft Museum, New York; and her works have been featured in exhibitions at several major museums, including the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York.