Beezy Bailey

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Beezy Bailey

Fallen Angel

Beezy Bailey describes his works as ‘frozen dreams’, created from the images and legends that emerge from his subconscious and the world of his imagination. ‘I am a conduit of visual messages greater than me – at best a messenger from God, at worst a fallen angel,’ he says.

Perhaps this work refers to his reputation as playful rabble-rouser. Frustrated by ‘increasingly prevalent affirmative action’ in the art world, Bailey submitted two artworks for a triennial exhibition in 1991: one with the traditional Beezy Bailey signature (rejected), and the other signed ‘Joyce Ntobe’, a female alter ego Bailey had created for himself. The latter now enjoys an honoured place in the South African National Gallery’s (SANG) permanent collection. When the SANG’s curator wanted to work on a paper about three black female artists, Joyce Ntobe being one, Bailey revealed the truth and caused a media scandal.

Bailey beskryf sy werk as “gevriesde drome” wat gemaak is uit die beelde wat in die onderbewuste opduik. “Ek is die kanaal van visuele boodskappe wat groter as ek is – ten beste ’n boodskapper van God, ten slegste ’n gevalle engel,” sê hy. Met hierdie werk doen hy sy reputasie as ’n speelse rebel gestand. Toe hy gefrustreerd raak met die syns insiens toenemende regstellende aksie in die kunswêreld het Bailey twee werke voorgelê aan die Triënnale in 1991. Die een met sy gewone Beezy Bailey handtekening is afgekeur. Die ene met ’n Joyce Ntobe handtekening is aanvaar en dit het nou ’n plek in die Suid Afrikaanse Nasionale Galery se permanente uitstalling.

Toe die kurator van die uitstalling oor drie swart vroue wou skryf waarvan ‘Joyce Ntobe’ een sou wees, het Bailey erken hý is Joyce Ntobe. Die media het ’n fees gehad.

Beach Ball Player

What does this whimsical, humorous figure in high heels mean? You would not necessarily find an answer with the artist. ‘I am often asked, “What does that ship, or car, or high-heel shoe mean?”’ says Beezy Bailey. ‘I am not an illustrator; I release the images that appear before me. Like Picasso, I say that it is not for me to explain the contents of my work; this is for the viewer to do.’

Wat beteken hierdie spelerige figuur op die hoë polvye? Die kunstenaar sal nie maklik antwoord nie. “Ek word dikwels gevra wat beteken die skip, of kar, of hoë polvye,” sê Bailey. “Ek is nie ’n illustreerder nie; ek skilder bloot die beelde voor my. Soos Picasso voel ek ook dis nie my werk om die werk te verduidelik nie; dis die werk van die kyker.”

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