May 21 2016

Olaymai Dabls: Flags Erotic Rights

Olyami Dabls: Flags Erotic Rights

Henry Taylor's 810 East 3rd Street, #41 
Los Angeles, CA 90013


Opening Reception:
Sat, May 21, 2016, 5-10pm

Public Conversation:
Sun, May 22, 2016, 2pm
Dabls, Henry Taylor, & Lorcan O’Herlihy

Henry Taylor’s is pleased to present the first Los Angeles exhibition of Olayami Dabls. One of the founders of the contemporary Detroit art scene, for over three decades Dabls has worked as an artist, historian and curator, lecturing extensively on African material culture to international audiences. In 2000 he opened the African Bead Museum on the corner of Grand River and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. Here, Dabls houses his renowned collection of African beads, textiles and cultural objects. Surrounded by a sprawling sculpture garden comprised of eighteen outdoor installations that reference the different aspects of colonization through the metaphor of “Iron Teaching Rocks to Rust,” the museum attracts visitors from around the world. Occupying almost an entire city block, Dabls’ African Bead Museum is a tool through which communities come to understand the deep African roots in Detroit.

Curated by Corazon del Sol and Yael Lipschutz, Flags Erotic Rights represents three distinct bodies of work created by Dabls over a thirty-year period. A meditation on the contradictory nature of the United States as a symbol of both oppression and freedom, Flags (1985) is comprised of fourteen paintings of the United States flag seen from various angles. Erotic refers to the African Kama Sutra (2005-2009), a series of drawings, paintings and collages Dabls created in order to reclaim the humanity and beauty of African sexuality. Rights (1985) is a group of paintings and paper cutout collages about the Civil Rights Movement, made while Dabls was working as a curator and artist-in-residence at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. 

In addition to these three bodies of work, a selection of beads from the African Bead Museum will be on view. Rarely seen outside of Detroit, Dabls’ work recently received the attention of the Knight Foundation, who awarded him a $100,000 grant to cover renovations of the African Bead Museum, a project that will be spearheaded by the LA-based firm Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA). All profits from Dabls’ exhibition at Henry Taylor’s go towards the goal of matching the Knight Foundation’s award. The exhibition will be accompanied by a public conversation between Dabls, Henry Taylor and Lorcan O’Herlihy, moderated by Corazon del Sol and Yael Lipschutz.