The Winter Garden at Brookfield Place is opening its doors to a summer of Xenobia Bailey. With two new commissioned artworks, expect to see her artwork entitled Mothership on view June 28th, and sit under her canopy entitled Functional Frequency Environment on July 12th.
Mothership pays homage to the African American homemaker, caregiver, and domestic worker through the humble aesthetic of the needle arts. Single-stitched hand-crochet coverings draped over wooden chairs are reminiscent of the creativity and nurturing practices of her mother’s domestic skills.
The first influence to Xenobia’s work, her mother, “created a beautiful ambience with nothing. She’d get these afghans and quilts from the Salvation Army to adorn the house in a way that was like an art installation.” This practice was common among Black women in rural, urban and suburban communities who felt the need for creative, warm and vibrant environments for both comfort and joy. This artwork celebrates the unsung women behind this folk-art tradition which evolved from Cottage Craft and the Arts and Crafts Movement in North America since the 1800’s and continues to this day.
Mothership will be on view from June 28 to September 17, 2021.
From July 12th to September 17th, the public is invited to sit under the canopy of Xenobia Bailey’s “Funktional Frequency Environment,” entitled ‘Hallowed Be Their Names‘, created to celebrate and uplift communities affected by loss.
The installation represents the survival of the human spirit that is often embodied in “Black Joy,” a skill cultivated by African American homemakers and caregivers who assist those in need of soulful and emotional refuge from the collective traumas of the world.
The artwork, hand crafted by Bailey, is composed of a crochet hammock and 8 swings constructed out of 26-gauge copper wire. Each crochet piece is accented by a funky-lace freeform style crochet, reminiscent of her childhood home, and paired with crystals above. The selected color palette represents the various regions the artist has lived, while the crystals act as conductors of energy as each copper wire color reflects through them.
The public is encourage you to reflect on what your own “Funktional Frequencies” might be as you view the artwork woven throughout the Winter Garden palm trees.
Brookfield Place is located 230 Vesey Street, NYC.
About the artist ~ Xenobia Bailey is a fiber artist who works primarily in crochet, textiles, and needlecraft. She is known for her crochet African-inspired hats and large crochet pieces and mandalas. She will tell you that her work is an accumulation of materials in the tradition of African-American art, and reflected in the music of the 1960s she grew up with. She was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and currently works and lives between New York City and Philadelphia, PA. Prior to moving to New York City, she attended the University of Washington where she studied Ethnomusicology as anundergraduate in a graduate program.
While at the UW she interned as acostume designer for Black Arts West Theater Group, an African American Community Repertory Theater Group in Seattle’s African American Community.She transferred to Pratt Institute, in Brooklyn New York, where she earned a BID, Undergraduate degree in Industrial Design. After Graduating for Pratt, she learned crochet at a community Center in Brooklyn where she applied her Industrial Design education.
Bailey has a plethora of commissioned work, but one we must mention before closing is her design at Hudson Yards #7 Line for MTA Arts & Design.