AARL Permanent Art Installation




From the Cabinet is a two-part sculptural installation designed for the entrances of the library. The 16 ft. x  14 ft. sculpture, located at the north entrance, is comprised of two-tiered steel, wall-mounted shelves, each holding symbolic sculptural components.

Sculptural elements include symbolic imagery associated with the movement and growth of the people of the African Diaspora as well as the artist’s family history.

Sculptural silhouettes include musical instruments, ships, African sculptures, doorways, doorways, picture frames, a soldier, a 19th century Garveyite, an oar, and a connecting ladder that transforms from a railroad track to a DNA strand.

A second sculpture of a Victrola/phonograph, located at the south entrance, incorporates sound works and recordings curated from the library's audio archives.


Biography from Jack Shainman Gallery, opens a new window

Radcliffe Bailey (b. 1968, Bridgetown, NJ; lives and works in Atlanta, GA) is a painter, sculptor, and mixed media artist who utilizes the layering of imagery, culturally resonant materials, and text to explore themes of ancestry, race, migration, and collective memory. His work often incorporates found materials and objects from his past into textured compositions, including traditional African sculpture, tintypes of his family members, ships, train tracks, and Georgia red clay. The cultural significance and rhythmic properties of music are also important influences that can be seen throughout his oeuvre.

An iconic work of Bailey’s, Windward Coast–West Coast Slave Trade, is composed of hundreds of discarded piano keys. This piece expresses his love of music, as well as the history, culture, and spirituality contained in song. Here, the undulating keys are arranged to resemble the turbulent waters of Middle Passage. The waters of this work are physically embodied by music, an intangible entity carried over to new worlds, and a trans-generational vestige of African heritages.

Individual experience serves as a departure point in Bailey’s quest to excavate the collective consciousness of African diasporas and regional American identities. Found objects and imagery present seemingly bygone pasts as contemporary, neon Northern Stars that lead us through Bailey’s constellation of works on view, exploring and interweaving our shared histories. Often quilt-like in aesthetic, his practice creates links between diasporic histories and potential futures, investigating the evolution or stagnation of notions of identity.


Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport

United States Embassy, Uganda

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

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