O Freedom Ova me
Mixed media on wood
Born Bridgeton, N.J. 1968
Columbus is a place of rich culture, art and expression. The exquisite works of art in our community each have a unique story, an interesting naissance and heritage. Join SVM as we put them on exhibit for you.
Radcliffe Bailey’s large, mixed-media paintings address his life as young African American living in Atlanta. This work called “ O Freedom Ova Me” is made from found objects. They draw on a variety of sources, including historical events, popular culture, family memories and African traditions as they have been changed and preserved in African-American culture.
This particular work is built around an enlargement of a vintage photograph the artist obtained from one of his family albums. The surrounding surface is thickly painted and incorporates boat motifs that evoke themes of transport, flight and freedom. Bailey has also included repeating pairs of curved lines. These not only recall shapes found in iron balconies all over the South, but also mimic a symbol found on adinkra cloths of West Africa.
While he was influenced by historic figures that have transformed and changed the world, he was also influenced by family members, by his mother, his children, and his grandparents. His mother was quietly creating experiences for him to make art when he was a child. She was his first art teacher and is, today, his most important critic. She introduced him to museums at a young age, allowing for his first encounters with African art, with the art of James van der Zee and Jacob Lawrence. svm
Special thanks to Merecedes Parham, Columbus Museum.