Xenobia Bailey

By Jo Hamilton

Mixed crocheted yarn.

82 x 76 cm

Why Xenobia Bailey?

For the exhibition I chose to portray African American artist Xenobia Bailey. As a fellow crochet artist, I am in awe of the incredible skill and energy of her work. The colourful circles surrounding her portrait are meant as a tribute to her stunning crocheted mandalas. “Bailey’s work strives to create a textile culture and aesthetic that African Americans were unable to develop because of slavery and reconstruction.” (“Xenobia Bailey”, Wikipedia, 30 May 2021).

About the artist

Jo first learned to crochet from her Gran as a child in Scotland, and after years as a painter it became her full-time art practice in 2006. Since then, Jo has been making large scale figurative wall works knot by knot from crocheted yarn. She works primarily with portraits, nudes and landscapes, trying to subvert these once patriarchal and still dominant fine art traditions, and to unravel outdated cultural determinations about gender, identity and value in both making and looking. Jo wants to celebrate and secure the ongoing cultural significance of hand craft, especially long-underestimated women’s crafts, in the arena of contemporary art. Her portraits often depict less visible people, such as residents of the local AIDS care facility, venerable local and historical matriarchs, and masked women as secret super-heroes hiding in plain sight. Nudes are always male, giant and muscular but also soft and reclining. Cities and landscapes are concerned with the effects of the breakneck pace of modern global human industry and over-population. Because of environmental concerns, Jo has always used primarily post-consumer and recycled materials.


Out of stock