Written by Chantel DaCosta

My Jamaica: The Artist’s Life: Greg Bailey

Greg Bailey

Greg Bailey


Greg Bailey is a Jamaican fine arts painter. Art is Bailey’s passion, and the fuel that excites his life. He is one of three artists who share the 2017 Dawn Scott Memorial Award for the Jamaica Biennial.  Bailey’s winning piece Colonial Legacies shares similar themes to those explored by the late Alison Dawn Scott (1951-2010) for whom the Award is named. Throughout her career Scott created vivid portraits and landscapes representing Jamaican life.

In 2010, Bailey graduated Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts with a BA in Fine Arts. He majored in painting, and, since then, he has worked diligently at his craft. His focus is on exploring Jamaica’s political landscape and current affairs. Today, Greg Bailey shares his life as a Jamaican artist.

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

Integrity is what’s integral to the work of an artist. It is what brings a certain amount of honesty and individualism to the creation of art.

Describe your creative process.

My creative process undergoes vigorous physical labour as well as very long and deep thoughts. It is influenced by the immediate and not so immediate surroundings. My paintings are constructed with infinite devices such as metaphors, satire, irony, sarcasm, and symbolisms.

What are the primary themes in your work?

The primary themes in my work would include politics, class, gender and aesthetics.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

The best piece of advice I’ve been given is to demonstrate integrity and consistency.

Exchange, painting by Greg Bailey

Colonial Legacies, painting by Greg Bailey

What was the inspiration for the Dawn Scott Memorial Award winning painting Colonial Legacies?

Colonial Legacies is part of a wider body of work that takes Jamaican politics, class, race, history and opposite extremes into question.

What advice would you give young upcoming artists?

I would give young and upcoming artists the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve been given: be patient and consistent, be honest, do the work hard and with integrity.

 Name your favourite or most inspirational place in Jamaica.

My favourite place is Warsop in Trelawny. That is where I was born and moulded into the greater portion of who I am today. It is a place that is also filled with happy childhood and adolescent memories.

Professionally, what are your primary goals?

My primary goal is to continually better myself for me, my country, and for the next generation of artists; I’m a patriot, I strive to become a positive influence.

Greg Bailey’s work is exhibited at the National Gallery of Jamaica. The 2017 Jamaica Biennial opened on Sunday 26th February and continues until Sunday 28th of May.



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