Artist Statement

Hands Along the Rail pays tribute to all of the workers who worked tirelessly and without recognition to build American railways.


Artist Bio

Since 1979, Holley has devoted his life to improvisational creativity. His art and music, born out of struggle and hardship, but perhaps more importantly, out of furious curiosity and biological necessity, has manifested itself in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, performance, music, and filmmaking.

Holley’s sculptures are constructed from found materials in the oldest tradition of African American sculpture. Objects, already imbued with cultural and artistic metaphor, are combined into narrative sculptures that commemorate places, people, and events. His work has been displayed in the White House Rose Garden and is now in collections of major museums throughout the world (The Museums of Fine Arts, San Francisco; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Smithsonian American Art Museum; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and many others), and on permanent display in the United Nations.

He has also experimented with film, photography, and video throughout his career. His directorial debut, the short narrative film I Snuck Off the Slave Ship, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. In 2022 Holley was named a USA Artist Fellow. He was the 2023 recipient of the Skowhegan Medal for Visual Arts & Music. His visual art is represented by the Blum & Poe Gallery (Los Angeles) and Edel Assanti Gallery (London). He continues to make art and music from his home and studio in Atlanta, Georgia.