“Funk is the unending cycle of life. It’s the ultimate concept—wherever your imagination will take it.” —Xenobia Bailey

One of four featured artists in #FunkGodJazzMedicine, New York City-based Xenobia Bailey is best known for her eclectic crocheted hats, large-scale mandalas, and tents consisting of colorful concentric circles and repeating patterns. Her designs draw influences from Africa, China, and Native American and Eastern philosophies, with undertones of the domestic aesthetic of her mother and other African American rural and urban homemakers, and of the 1960s and funk visual aesthetic.

Learn more about Xenobia and the other featured artists in Funk, God, Jazz & Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn.


Meet an international network of artists connected by their interest in vernacular traditions and indigenous knowledge

SITE Santa Fe was the scene of an extraordinary convergence last week as artists from Anchorage to Buenos Aires gathered for the opening of SITElines2016

The show, the only major biennial devoted to the Americas, is titled “Much Wider Than a Line.” Taken from Leanne Simpson’s Dancing on our Turtle’s Back, the phrase refers to territorial cross-connections that transcend national borders.  

Selected by a team of five curators, the 35 artists from 16 countries are united by interests in vernacular culture, indigenous voices, and natural materials.  

Identity, race, and borders are ongoing themes in the exhibition, where performance meets ritual, de-colonial practice meets social practice, and craft is high art.  

From top: Marta Minujin. Benvenuto Chavajay. Jorge González. Graciela Iturbide. Jonathas De Andrade. Pablo Helguera. Juana Valdes. Aaron Dysart. Maria Hupfield. Xenobia Bailey.


In honor of Black History Month, a nod to four artists with new projects and one new commission – which show the variety and depth of African-American artists working today – Shinique Smith created mosaics and glass art for the Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot in Harlem, Xenobia Bailey’s mosaics crown the soon to open 34th Street-Hudson Yards station on the 7 line, Moe Brooker’s expressive and jazz inspired glass panels will be installed this April at LIRR Wyandanch’s new parking facility and James Little was commissioned to create art for LIRR Jamaica Station’s upcoming new platform glass enclosure. 

Xenobia Bailey, Outstanding Neofunky Crochet Fine Artist - World of the Woman
Xenobia Bailey is an American artist and designer, who have a interest for in craftsmanship since the period when she studies ethnomusicology in Washington. She was a costume designer in the renowned African-American community theater, Black Arts West, until 1974, when she went to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
By zaklina

To accompany their artworks for Funk, God, Jazz & Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn (opening this Saturday!), we asked all four artists to contribute playlists of music that inspired or evokes their commissions. With everything from Sun Ra to Outkast, these soundtracks express both the common themes of the exhibition and the vibrant individuality of our featured artists. Enjoy!



Second-Hand Cinema

This fiber artist, Xenobia Bailey, learned to “funk it together” by watching the women in her community beautify their environments with limited resources and a ton of creativity.

* all content owned and provided by Etsy

Funk Friday! Congratulations to artist Xenobia Bailey on her Creative Time exhibition, “Funk,” part of Funk, God, Jazz, and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn, opening in Brooklyn tomorrow! Here is a sneak preview of a detail from her newly installed glass mosaic Funktional Vibrations, (which when fully complete, will be one of the largest permanent public artworks in NYC!)  This stunning, vibrant and imaginative work will soon be on view at the nearly finished 7 line’s new 34th Street-Hudson Yards station. 


Want to try your hand at beekeeping and honey spinning? Canning and pickling? Spinning from angora rabbits? In conjunction with Xenobia Bailey’s “funkified” installation at Weeksville Heritage Center, we’re presenting a series of free workshops during the run of Funk, God, Jazz & Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn.

Check them out!


Happy Friday! We are in love with the incredible Xenobia Bailey right now, and we can’t wait to unveil her effervescent and massive mosaic work “Funktional Vibration”. The opening of the 34th Street-Hudson Yards station is coming soon, but meanwhile, please check out this incredible time lapse video featuring  the installation process by Miotto Mosaic Art Studio. Enjoy!

Join us tomorrow at 2pm for:

Before 5: Xenobia Bailey & Tammi Lawson

Join us for a conversation between artist, designer and cultural activist, Xenobia Bailey,  and Tammi Lawson, Assistant Curator of Arts and Artifacts at the Schomburg Center. 

The two will discuss the inspirations to Xenobia's Reconstruction of Funktional Design: A Design Project for Social, and Economic Urban Redevelopment. The artist will share how the creative wisdom of her family’s history originating crafts skills and a material culture in the aesthetic of funk within small African American and multi cultural communities in Seattle Washington and how the migration to Brooklyn and presently living in Harlem influenced her lifestyle and is the foundation of her education and the principal of her Professional Practice. She will speak of her environment of being raised by self educated parents and extended family members, and of how they manifested an art form of humbly living in grace by design in spite of the set backs of Jim Crow Laws that most hard working African American Families experienced in rural and urban communities.

For more information and to register, click here

Medicine Hat for Supernatural Everyday People by Xenobia Bailey on Facebook.

I just finish[ed] my very first study on creating a Medicine Hat. this hat is made out of Buffaloe Yarn, Virgin Baby Lamb Yarn and a Baby Eagle Feather.

My Niecey-Pooh collects Eagle Feathers from one of the Forrests in Seattle… She waits at the trunk of the tree where the Eagles nest is and she waits for them to drop a feather or two.

I am going to be flying to Seattle in a few hours to install this hat in my solo exhibit at the NorthWest African American Museum, The exhibit opens Oct 29th 2011. I will post more information in a few days. I just wanted to share this image of the Medicine Hat because it is my first time working with the Buffaloe Yarn and Eagles Feathers…

The first person in this album [pictured] is a fabulous womens clothing designer named Ona, She made the garment she has on and the earrings she is wearing… She will be soon selling her wears on Etsy.

….annnnd I want one. Click through for album. Hopefully it’s not on private.


“You can do a million different funks from a million different people and you’ll never get anything exactly alike—that’s what’s so beautiful about it.” —Xenobia Bailey

In case you had any doubts about the awesomeness that is Xenobia Bailey, one of our four featured artists in #FunkGodJazzMedicine, we thought we share some of our favorite things about her: like her feature on Etsy, her Absolut ad campaign, and her contribution to Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.”

Xenobia Bailey effortlessly mixes joy, wit, and overwhelming aesthetic beauty with serious, pragmatic politics. She centers her practice around a recasting of the traditional craft of crochet, which in her hands becomes a radical tool for black self-determination and feminist liberation. In her swirling mandalas, Bailey envisions a syncretic, “funkified,” Afrofuturistic utopia in which Eastern and African theologies coalesce in perfect harmony and there are no hierarchies of “high” and “low” art. By emphasizing the DIY element of her work—she often engages local communities in creating her projects—Bailey asserts that the most radically political thing an artist can do is to literally build the future she wants to see, with her own two hands, from the materials available to her. Xenobia’s work is incredible, but her even greater gift to us is the push to do it ourselves.

Xenobia Bailey, Crocheted mandalas from “Aesthetics of Funk” at NAAM, 2012