Alias Kofi X
Works in the Collection
Herman “Kofi” Bailey was born in 1931 in Chicago, Illinois and studied at Alabama State College, later earning his master’s degree from the University of Southern California. He is best known for his exquisite, highly structured, and deeply emotive representations of black figures in America and continental Africa. He also spent time studying at Howard University under master African American artists like Alain Locke and James A. Porter. Bailey was a fine example of a brilliantly trained artist and self-styled bohemian who was committed to marrying figuration and abstraction as representation. A committed Civil Rights activist and Pan-Africanist, Bailey used his work to bridge and shape an aesthetic that looked towards Africa and portrayed a more global perspective of blackness. The power of his work is not just in his descriptive elegance. His structural geometry, whether figurative, abstract or sometimes painterly, produced an iconic power of expression that is uniquely his.
Bailey’s work is included in such notable collection as the California African American Museum, Hampton University, National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Civil Rights Museum, Spelman College and the University Museums at the University of Delaware. He died in 1981 in Atlanta, Georgia.