The (RE)Possession of Xenobia Bailey
June 16, 2008

(RE)Possessed, at the Jersey City Museum through August 24 is the magical collaborative exhibit of the high priestess of the “Visual Aesthetic of Funk” herself, Xenobia Bailey and her creative friends: tea purveyor Doughba Hamilton Caranda-Martin, photographer Barron Claiborne, ceramic artist Barbara Garnes, musician, Rene McLean and chandelier designer Dorian Webb.

Cover Art: Trilogy, 2001, Crocheted yarn and beads, 67 x 57 in

From the exhibition program:

Beginning with the tradition of folk tale narratives, Xenobia

Bailey has created an exquisite, multi-layered environment

that addresses history, mythology, creativity, race, music,

society and politics. At the root of her exhibition is the

re-creation of a lost ancient culture, the culling of direction

from chaos, the restitution of power and the acknowledgment

of the significance of creative production by African

descendants.

Xenobia’s phenomenal crocheted mandalas, crowns, Obeah woman Hoodoo gown and the pièce de résistance, Sistah Paradise’s Revival Tent anchor the show, which creates the setting for a spiritual, Afrocentric tea ceremony. The revival tent is flanked by the astonishing chandeliers of Dorian Webb, cascading nearly to the floor with venetian glass adornments. Barbara Garnes’ African Toile puts a cultural spin on the Eurocentric notion of the traditional porcelain tea set. Artist Doughba Caranda-Martin’s organic African Bush tea blends provide the ceremony’s libation and multi-reed instrumentalist Rene McLean‘s original composition provides the evocative soundscape.

Sistah Paradise (Xenobia Bailey) presides over the “urban tea ceremony with a twist.

Photo: Barron Claiborne

Note: Xenobia has just launched an Etsy.com shop to sell her popular crochet skullcaps.

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