Radcliffe Bailey

(Bridgeton, New Jersey, 1968 - 2023, Atlanta, Georgia)

JRed House


Mixed media and found objects on wood

96 x 96 x 6 in. (243.8 x 243.8 x 15.2 cm)

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of Bruce and Barbara Berger


More Information

Objects and symbols coalesce in 'JRed House' to tell a story with deeply personal roots that also relates to the broader history of the African diaspora. In this flickering exploration of history and memory, images and shapes alternately float forward and recede. The central image of the boy likely comes from a cache of late 19th-century family photographs that the artist’s grandmother gave him. Radcliffe Bailey surrounds the boy’s image with personally and culturally loaded elements that connect him to the world of his ancestors. The composition is dominated by the red, black and green colors of the Pan-African flag and by an anvil, a symbol of strength identified with the African Methodist Episcopal church. The ladder, Akan symbols branded into the surface and references to the Yoruba god of thunder Shango have specific meanings for Bailey while also inviting viewers to make their own associations.

Found objects
African American