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Artist Xenobia Bailey at Seattle Presents Gallery

Seattle Office of Arts & Culture presents Paradise Under Reconstruction in the Aesthetic of Funk: A Quantum Leap, Starting From The Top…!!!, a new installation by Xenobia Bailey

Dialogues in Art: Exhibitions on Racial Injustice
December 14, 2016 – February 10, 2017 at Seattle Presents Gallery in the Seattle Municipal Tower
Open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12 – 2 p.m. and by appointment


SEATTLE (Dec. 14, 2016) – The Seattle Presents Gallery will showcase a new installation by Xenobia Bailey this winter. Paradise Under Reconstruction in the Aesthetic of Funk: A Quantum Leap, Starting From The Top…!!! is the last installation in Dialogues in Art: Exhibitions on Racial Injustice, a year-long series exploring artists’ and curators’ interpretations of racial injustice, both systemic and institutional, impacting Black-identifying people throughout America.

Bailey has created an immersive installation featuring African-American homemakers and caregivers that honors and celebrates their innovative, soulful lifestyle.  The installation references connections to the African-American community and Seattle’s history. These life-sized figures play an important role in cultivating and rebuilding homes and communities, while providing nurturing and guidance for African-American youth. According to Bailey the installation is created as “an exploration for a future of designing and engineering a humane material culture and cyber cottage industry that will address community needs relating to wellness and social and economic development.”

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Bailey studied ethnomusicology at the University of Washington, and received her BA in industrial design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Her artworks and installations are often connected to her ongoing project Paradise Under Reconstruction in the Aesthetic of Funk. Her designs draw influences from Africa, China, and Native American and Eastern philosophies, with undertones of funk visual aesthetic, the 1960’s, and her mother and other African American rural and urban homemakers. Today, the New York City-based Bailey is best known for eclectic crocheted hats, large-scale mandalas, and tents consisting of colorful concentric circles and repeating patterns.

Bailey has been artist-in-residence at Pittsburgh’s Society for Contemporary Craft, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation in New York City. She has exhibited at the Jersey City Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, the Studio Museum of Harlem, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Bailey recently completed a large-scale mosaic, Funkational Vibrations, for the 34th St-Hudson Yards subway station in New York, for the MTA Arts & Design program. Her work is in the permanent collections at Harlem’s Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania, and the Museum of Art and Design in New York City.

Seattle Presents Gallery will be open to the public on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12 – 2 p.m. and by appointment at 206.684-0182 or email

The Office of Arts & Culture, in partnership with the Office for Civil Rights, is committed to providing equitable support for arts and cultural organizations. The Seattle Presents Gallery features both emerging and established artists and curators and encourages public engagement in arts and cultural experiences that explore ideas surrounding equity and social justice.

Installation photo courtesy the Office of Arts & Culture. 

Past participating artists in the Dialogues in Art: Exhibitions on Racial Injustice series:

Jasmine Iona Brown was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and traveled to five continents before settling in West Seattle. She earned her B.F.A. at Howard University and her M.A. from UCLA. Her graduate study in ancient history and cultures led her to incorporate antique artistic mediums, such as egg tempera, into her artwork. She is fascinated with the human face and the tragic narratives of marginalized people. Brown is the recipient of a 2011 Puffin Foundation Grant to paint a series of Byzantine style egg-tempera icons memorializing a few of the many children of color that are lost to violence.

Barry Johnson is a Washington-based visual artist and filmmaker from Kansas who has had a range of works in visual art and film shown across the U.S. and the world. Waking up at 2 am every morning to paint in his studio, Johnson works tirelessly to create pieces that challenge views on gender, race, sex, and sound. His work is a result of events taking place around the world and in everyday life.

Mark Mitchell is an artist who speaks to social issues through textiles. His contributions to Seattle’s cultural community bridge a number of disciplines, including art, music, theater, fashion, activism, and education. He is the subject of the award-winning documentary film Burial, and presented a performance and exhibition of the same title at the Frye Art Museum in 2013.

Shaun Scott is a Seattle-based independent filmmaker whose first feature film was “Seat of Empire” (2009), a 3-hour long documentary tour of the city of Seattle using archival footage. In 2010 he directed and wrote “Waste of Time”, a historical mash-up of original footage, archival images, and contemporary music meant as a portrait of consumer capitalism.

Sam Vernon earned her MFA in Painting/Printmaking from Yale University in 2015 and her BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 2009.  Her installations combine photocopied drawings, photographs, paintings and sculptural components in an exploration of personal narrative and identity. She uses installation and performance to honor the past while revising historical memory. Vernon has most recently exhibited with Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Seattle Art Museum, Ewing Gallery of Art & Architecture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Emery Community Arts Center at the University of Maine, Farmington, MoCADA, or the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in Brooklyn.