green design, eco design, sustainable design, Dabls African Bead Museum, Olayami Dabls, Detroit, recycled art, garbage art, metal art, outdoor sculpture park

The site which is now Dabls’ impromptu outdoor sculpture park was just an illegal dumping ground. Seeing more potential for the disused space, Dabls decided to create an outdoor art installation dedicated to African American history. Using donated and discarded items only, he began to build outdoor sculptures that together formed a narrative – a metaphor for social and political commentary on African American history.

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green design, eco design, sustainable design, Dabls African Bead Museum, Olayami Dabls, Detroit, recycled art, garbage art, metal art, outdoor sculpture park

The sprawling installation called “Iron Teaching Rocks How to Rust” is rife with racial innuendo and cultural appropriation. Through cement blocks, metal scraps, old file cabinets, broken mirrors and reclaimed wood, Dabls draws metaphors about one social group (iron) trying to force its cultural beliefs on the other (rocks).

green design, eco design, sustainable design, Dabls African Bead Museum, Olayami Dabls, Detroit, recycled art, garbage art, metal art, outdoor sculpture park

The narrative may seem a little heavy, but with Dabls’ beautiful story telling and use of recycled sculptures, the story of years of racial oppression become easier for the visitor to stomach. The harsh truth, rendered in repurposed cast off materials, becomes a story of promise and rebirth. Dabls welcomes anyone to stop by, hear the tale, and check out his unique installations.

+ Dabls African Bead Museum and Installation

Images ©Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat

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