DRAPED IN LOVE
The series is called Draped in love
Bailey is a self-realized interior designer and installation artist. Her hand-painted murals, bespoke furniture, and artwork have garnered national attention from renowned design institutions and publications such as Elle Décor, House Beautiful, and Architectural Digest.
Bailey began to immerse herself into her works as a visual artist after EGOT Winner Whoopi Goldberg purchased two of her installation pieces. Goldberg encouraged Bailey to create more works celebrating the divine feminine, freedom, and other themes connected to liberation and healing.
Draped in Love is inspired by a concept known as Drapetomania [DRAPE - TOH - MAYN - EE - AH].
in 1851, a pro-slavery American physician named Samuel A. Cartwright coined the term drapetomania (from Greek words meaning “runaway slave” and “crazy”). Dr. Cartwright concluded that this (supposed) mental illness caused enslaved Africans in America to flee their slave owners and captors. Like many invested in the slave trade, Dr. Cartwright believed that slavery imparted a more civilized life to Africans in America and that only those who were mentally challenged or deranged would wish for a life of freedom.
Each piece within the Draped in Love series is dedicated to one of Bailey’s enslaved ancestors. The excess materials in Draped in Love depict Bailey’s labor of love as she experienced a convoluted, and yet beautiful journey to self-discovery and healing. Holistically, the series also coveys Bailey’s integration of how she continually navigates ancestral wounds through her work as a Black interior designer and muralist.
Bailey’s recent journey to trace her ancestral roots through genealogy led her to the discovery of one of her great ancestors, Charlett Harden.
Undraping of Innocence is dedicated to Charlett, who was purchased in Virginia for $1,900 in 1860 (equivalent to about $65,000 in 2022) at the age of 12. Records state that Charlett, described as a “mulatto” on her bill of sale, “cried all the way to the auction block.”
Benjamin Harden, Sr. purchased Charlett and fathered four children with her. Charlett also gave birth to five more children with his son Benjamin Harden, Jr. The younger Harden’s children were listed as mulatto in 1860 schedules for the plantation.
Draped in Love is about the relentless pursuit of freedom through the discovery of one’s truth. This is often sparked by the emerging passion embedded in one’s engrained roots despite the enslavement, entrapment, and rape experienced along the ancestral journey. These elements permeate and still haunt the coding of our DNA.
Draped in Love is a rebellious interpretation of beauty as seen through the soulful eyes of Black people who desire to express their presence and greatness in a world that has robbed them of their authenticity and innocence. Despite this collective trauma that spans centuries, the existence of Black people will never be condemned.
Bailey, an Afro-Latina American female interior designer, expresses her art through these household materials to highlight the horrors of exploitation that were normalized in 19th century America, and are now, in modern-day America, erased from history classes and remained largely unacknowledged.
Through the Draped in Love series and The Undraping of Innocence piece, Bailey brings to the fore her modern day struggles to make a mark as an interior designer in a racist, elitist industry that lacks diversity and representation. She uses remnants from the luxurious drapery from her design projects to create abstractions that shatter fear, incite rebellion, and center freedom.
BAILEY LI INTERIORS