Diaspora-Artists logo


David A. Bailey MBE

Born, 1961 in UK

David A. Bailey MBE came to prominence as one of a new generation of Black photograpers in the UK in the mid to late 1980s. Since then, he has done much work as a writer and curator, working with institutions and organisations, as well as working independently. His projects, both curated and co-curated have included Mirage, ICA London, 2005; Rhapsodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance, Hayward Gallery, London, 1997; Black Moving Cube, Arnolfini, Bristol, 2006, Back to Black, Whitechapel/The New Art Gallery Walsall, 2005. David A. Bailey was for a time Associate Senior Curator at the Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA) in London and was subsequently Curator at Autograph, London. He edited, (with Ian Baucom and Sonia Boyce) Shades of Black, subtitled Assembling Black Arts in 1980s Britain. Likewise, Sonia Boyce and David A. Bailey’s collaborative work was included in the book Shades of Black: Assembling Black Arts in 1980s Britain. He chaired the “Curatorial Debates Since the 1980s” panel at the Shades of Black conference, 20 April 2001, Duke University.

David A. Bailey, ‘Curator and Founder, Autograph-Association of Black Photographers’ was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2007, for services to Photography.

Bailey now heads the project www.internationalcuratorsforum.org. 

Together with Jessica Taylor, Bailey curated Diaspora Pavilion | Venice to Wolverhampton, “a re-staging of a selection of works previously shown in the exhibition Diaspora Pavilion that took place in Venice during the the 57th Venice Biennale last year. The works shown here are by seven of the 19 artists who were part of the Venice show, all of who were selected due to the variety of ways that their practices engage with diaspora as a concept.

The Diaspora Pavilion grew out of a desire to provide a space for artists to pose counter-narratives that interrogate the notion of diaspora and a topical interest in the impact of increased global mobility, displacement and migration on culture. The idea of diaspora here functions as a tool with which to explore how artistic practice has been influenced by cross-cultural exchange.

On the  ground floor Larry Achiampong is screening a short film entitled Sunday’s Best in the Contemporary Gallery. The film addresses the impact that colonial histories have had on religious practices within the African diaspora. In the West Gallery susan pui san lok has installed a new configuration of an on-going work entitled Golden. Composed of shimmering gold curtains accompanied by audio pieces, plus a video work not previously exhibited in Venice, this installation explores notions of nostalgia and aspiration. Beginning in the Morris Gallery and continuing on the first floor, Abbas Zahedi presents a re-formulation of the site-specific installation he developed for the original Pavilion with the new addition of a video work. In his practice Zahedi explores survival techniques for what he has termed neo-diasporic predicament, one of which is the exercise of bottling drinks, which the artist himself performs. Zahedi has produced a Saffrock Shandy for Diaspora Pavilion, which will be sold in the café upstairs.

On the first floor of the Gallery five paintings by Kimathi Donkor have been inserted into the displays in the Victorian and Georgian galleries. These interventions address and disrupt different historical moments, invoking figures and myths across time periods, to generate new perspectives in painting.

In the Focus Gallery Paul Maheke presents The River Asked for a Kiss (To Pateh Sabally), a series of four hanging curtains on printed text, and In the Watery Core of those Stories, which includes two fish tanks placed on the floor. Both works explicitly reference the Venetian canal, echoing Maheke’s interest in water as a subject through which to explore issues around migration and displacement.

For the Diaspora Pavilion Michael Forbes has produced a new series of sculptures and paintings exhibited here for the first time. These works, like the series shown in Venice, bring together historical artefacts and contemporary objects as a means of commenting on processes of valuation and collecting in connection to urgent issues of the moment.

In an adjoining gallery Erika Tan has re-designed the large-scale work made for the Venice Pavilion, The ‘Forgotten’ Weaver (RETURNS), onto which she projects two video pieces, and has introduced a third projection element, The Weavers Lament. Together the four elements of the installation consider the relevance in the postcolonial reframing of modernism.

Curated by David A. Bailey and Jessica Taylor

The above text is from the brochure accompanying the exhibition, which took place at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, 10 February - 29 April 2018.


Related items + view all 20

click to show details of Back to Black - catalogue

»  Back to Black - catalogue

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2005

click to show details of The Perfect City | Keith Piper

»  The Perfect City | Keith Piper

Brochure relating to an exhibition, 2007

click to show details of Shades of Black (book)

»  Shades of Black (book)

Book relating to a publication, 2005

click to show details of A Ship Called Jesus

»  A Ship Called Jesus

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1991

click to show details of Unrecorded Truths

»  Unrecorded Truths

Invite relating to an exhibition, 1986

Related exhibitions

»  Third World Within

Solo show at Brixton Art Gallery. 1986

Related venues + view all 7

»  Arnolfini

Bristol, United Kingdom

»  The Corcoran Gallery of Art

Washington D.C., United States of America

»  Hayward Gallery

London, United Kingdom

»  Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre

Coventry, United Kingdom

»  M.H. de Young Memorial Museum

San Francisco, United States of America