E.M. Bailey, 1903-1987, was an African American artist who spent most of his life and career in Atlanta, Georgia. Working as a cement mason, Bailey filled his house with paintings and sculptures. Bail..
E.M. Bailey, 1903-1987, was an African American artist who spent most of his life and career in Atlanta, Georgia. Working as a cement mason, Bailey filled his house with paintings and sculptures. Bailey is best known for his concrete sculptures which turned his yard into an outdoor sculpture garden in inner-city Atlanta. Bailey built his first yard sculpture in 1945, and continued to do so until 1974. His work often reflected politics, race, and pop culture of the US. His occupation making headstones influenced his work, which frequently portrayed motifs significant to Afro-Christianity and funerary traditions. A memorial to JFK laments the death of a president who gave many in the African American community hope. Bailey’s last sculpture was a monument to how much had changed for black Americans during his lifetime. Depicting Henry Aaron’s historic 715th home run, Bailey finished the sculpture the night a black athlete topped one of America’s longest standing athletic records.Constructed of concrete, Bailey’s sculptures were originally painted vibrantly, however, exposed to the elements, they gradually faded to bleached white. Bailey did not receive widespread recognition during his lifetime. After his death, his sculptures were removed from the property. Many of his paintings and smaller sculptures have been preserved, but his larger works no longer exist. His work has been exhibited at the Rockford Art Museum, the Diggs Gallery, and others, and are also held in the permanent collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.This image shows a view of several of Bailey’s sculptures. The dog and the chalices are both significant among African American funerary traditions. In the center of the photo is Bailey’s last sculpture, commemorating Hank Aaron’s record setting 715th home run.Image is provided for educational purposes only. © University of North Dakota. All rights reserved.
35mm slide, digitized 2020