Weird Homes Tour – Detroit
16 years ago Olayami Dabls came to the corner of Grand River and West Grand Blvd with a vision. He wanted to create a space for his community to understand the immense power of their African heritage.
The expansive MBAD African Bead Museum complex houses 18 outdoor installations. It also holds the African Bead Gallery, N’kisi House and African Language Wall as well. Born of Dabls’s own visual cosmology, MBAD sparks a vital conversation with global and local audiences.
Dabls has worked as a visual story teller for more than 45 years. These visual stories rely heavily on the use of materials and their symbolic meaning. Often, they reference African material culture in order to tell stories about the human condition. You can find iron, rock, wood and mirrors throughout Dabls’ work. He has found that these four materials serve as the primary building blocks that speak universally to all cultures.
Much of Dabls’ work at MBAD also incorporates the surrounding housing and building materials and spaces. While not used so much as a living space, these elements make visiting MBAD a powerful experience! You can decorate your house with art and you can decorate your art with houses!