Local Santa Cruz is spotlighting I.B. Bayo – one of the five Honorees being celebrated at the 22nd Annual Gail Rich Awards.
Held at the Rio Theatre on March 13, 2018, the “Gailies” is a free annual event produced by the Arts Council Associates. The awards ceremony is named after the late Gail Rich, whose inspiring advocacy for the arts is reflected in the many artists who continue to enrich the culture and community of Santa Cruz through their creative work. This year’s talented Honorees represent fashion, photography, literature, music, and theater.
I. B. Bayo is being honored for his inspiring work as a Fashion Designer. Born in Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria, Bayo has been living and working in Santa Cruz for 22 years. The beauty, history, and methods of clothing and textile production were instilled in him at an early age – he is the ninth generation of a traditional weaving family. Bayo learned to weave and dye from his mother. His father, who made traditional clothing for Nigerian royalty, taught him to sew and tailor. Some of his earliest memories are of sitting on his parents’ laps as they worked.
Through this unique exposure learning the craft from generations of cloth artisans, Bayo developed an appreciation for the artistic process, the value of continuing his family trade, and preserving traditional art forms through fashion. His work is influenced by the cultural lineage he represents. His mother taught him about the power of storytelling – how what is happening in the family, community, and world is documented through the textiles and clothing designs. He was also taught to work with respect to the collective versus individual gain, that creating clothing from material grown in the ground means they belong in a sense to everyone.
Before relocating to the U.S., Bayo attended Osogbo’s Niké Center for Art and Culture in Osogbo where he studied batik cloth dying, quilt making, reverse appliqué, clothing design, and painting. In 1995, he toured the U.S with a group of artists known as “The Children of Osun”. When the music and dance group needed costumes designed, naturally they turned to Bayo, who also sang and played drum with the group.
When Bayo came to California, he met local artist Rachel Clark, who offered to mentor him with Western clothing design. Since then, he has developed work that bridges cultures and blends historic traditions with modern creations. Santa Cruz has become a home he feels passionately connected to, and the feeling is mutual. His joyful personality, unique perspective, and stunning work have become a celebrated part of the community and local events like FashionART and Open Studios.
His work combines hand-woven, hand-dyed fabrics from Nigeria with other locally found fabrics, hand embroidered with intricate details and mesmerizing accessories. His pieces range from a men’s jacket elegantly adorned with hundreds of red and gold sequins; or a dress of 50,000 peacock feathers (he has spent four years collecting them). The vibrant color, patterns, and shapes of his work reveal his talent for replicating nature, creating flattering styles for diverse people, and sharing stories from around the world through wearable art.
Bayo has a busy life with his family, drumming with local music groups, teaching workshops, and preparing his one-of-a-kind collections for fashion shows in the Bay Area and beyond. As his work becomes increasingly recognized and sought after on international catwalks, Bayo still prefers to be back in his Westside Santa Cruz studio as much as possible, making art.
Follow I.B. Bayo and his fashion design at ibbayo.com
22nd Annual Gail Rich Awards
Tuesday, March 13 at 7:30pm
Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave. in Santa Cruz