%C2%A9 Eldren M. Bailey %2F Artists Rights Society %28ARS%29%2C New York

Spider Lady, 1960s


Spider Lady’s presence is striking. Pinned down, her twisted form and limbs nearly jump off the wooden board. Her long red fingernails and white shoes above her corn-rowed head emphasize her mismatched body. The deformation and restraint of Spider Lady’s body prompt us to reflect on the historical objectification of Black women.

In his portrayal of Eve, and nods to representations of the original woman in his work, Eldren M. Bailey addresses concepts of idolatry and fixed origins. The West African Akan folktale of Anansi “The Spider” might also have inspired him. This folktale has evolved throughout the African diaspora; in the United States, it is often referred to as Aunt Nancy or Ann Nancy. Informed by his work in funerary sculpture and the diverse belief systems in his Atlanta neighborhood, Bailey often referenced religion and mysticism within his work. Spider Lady serves as an exquisite example of the intersection of Christianity and African lore in Bailey’s community.

“I don’t wait for nobody to tell me, I experience it for my own self. Every piece of art that I do, I see it as finished before I even make the moldin’ for it. I know exactly what I’m doin’.” - Eldren M. Bailey

Spider Lady
Artist Life
1903 - 1987
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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© Eldren M. Bailey / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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