Handsome family photos, some dating to the Civil War era, were given to Bailey by his grandmother. By incorporating images of ancestors into his works, he places family history into his highly Contemporary and abstracted telling of legends of survival and struggles of Black families in America.
Legba represents a West African and Caribbean Voodoo god. Papa Legba serves as the guardian of the Poto Mitan, the center of power and support in the home, and allows for communication between humans and the spirit world. The symbol for Legba typically has a red background, one of his representative colors. The symbol includes several keys that signify Legba's control over communications and forms of passage, including locks, gates, and passageways. Papa Legba is usually depicted as an older man or skull wearing a top hat. Bailey plays with what is real in a very tactile way. In addition to the red and black velvet elements, a brushstroke of white paint becomes an extinguished candle with an actual match burn to the paper itself.