Greg Bailey was born 1986 in Warsop, Trelawny. He earned his BFA in 2010 from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, where he now lectures, and an MFA from the Washington University in St. Louis, Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts in 2019. His Jamaican exhibitions include: Young Talent 2015, the 2012 National Biennial, and the Jamaica Biennial 2014 and 2017 at the National Gallery of Jamaica; and the And I Resume the Struggle exhibitions (2020, 2021) at the Olympia Art Gallery. He has also exhibited in London, England, the United States, and Stuttgart, Germany. His awards include: The People’s Choice Award at the Due West 2020 exhibition, National Gallery West, Montego Bay; the Danforth and CHASE Fund Scholarships; and the Dawn Scott Memorial Award. Bailey is the author of Future Relics: Monumentalizing Afro-Caribbean Identity (2019).
My current body of work is part of an ongoing investigation of the Black mass in post-colonial spaces such as the Caribbean where lingering colonial residues perpetrate a confusing notion of self and space. The resulting psychological violence is internalized, and shapes and complicates the socio-political landscape of the contemporary Caribbean, thus perpetuating and reinforcing counterproductive social hierarchies and injustices. Post-colonial Paraphernalia explores the post-colonial world’s conflicted attachment to the symbols, ceremonial, and associated power dynamics of its colonial past, such as the wearing of ceremonial gowns and periwigs, which is still common in parliaments and the courts in the postcolonial world. The use of colonial iconography then becomes pertinent to engage the discussion of self and placement in post-colonial spaces after more than half a century of being independent states.
Post-colonial Paraphernalia exhibits portraits of friends and relatives that I stage wearing medals, crests, periwigs, gowns and then paint them in spaces that are further codified with symbolic images that amplify the contextual discourse of the work. The wig is a focused object, as it is worn on the head and therefore creates a direct link between itself and the cerebral cognition of the archetypal individuals wearing them. The portraits are meant to be incongruent; a disconnect between the subject and their attire in an attempt to provoke thought and disrupt visual expectations. Through this process I aim to present a reflection of us that we do not see by looking through a mirror, a reflection that will serve as a reminder that we need to start regaining our consciousness of self, integrity, and ambition.