Spider & the Bureau

In a 2007 show at the Hallie Ford Museum called The Spider and the Bureau, Bailey presented 8 large (6′ X 5′) works which examine the legacy the Bureau of Indian Affairs has had on native people and their communities. In those oil paintings and mixed media pieces, known collectively as “The Blanket Series,” Bailey weaves Navajo Chief Blanket and other traditional Indian design elements with images used by bureaucrats such as documents, maps and propaganda photographs to tell stories of forced assimilation and government violence.

In his newest mixed media works, Bailey continues to tell the story of the Spider and the Bureau. Against a backdrop of documents from and about the Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon, a Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding School where Bailey has taught for the past 30 years, vividly painted images raise new questions about the American institutions that have insinuated themselves in the native community.