Blog

Where African-town Begins

By yon tande, Cohort ’13

In a mythical village created over time, from the vibrations of Africa, sits a man both humble and knowledgeable about the history of a people. In his magical land of beads, the man known only as Dabls positions himself on the edge between now and then. The now is an ever-expanding world of iron, rocks, beads and mirrors. The then is comprised of the imagery of an intuited ancient land. “Restore yourselves,” he instills. I interpret that to mean, bring yourself back to a state where your history, a history of a rich African lineage, is valid and celebrated.

Dabls

Dabls

I am convinced that the passions of the heart can project form, while the rationality of the mind can acquiesce to the brilliance of those impulses. If imagination is the thing that the senses ignite, then Dabls’ African Bead Museum, in Detroit Michigan, is a fuse. I love the wonder of the space, the thrill of its complexity, and the sublimity of the history it calls forth. Here life's stories are conveyed and mythologies are displayed; the place “where African-town begins,” resonates with the memory of time and space.

I want to share this with the world, to remind everyone that a people’s history is the foundation of their existence. Without a history, there is no future. The Akan of Ghana have a symbol within their visual symbology called Sankofa, which loosely translates to “return and get it” - a symbol signifying learning from the past. What can we learn from the past? What does the past teach us? How do we validate and sustain the knowledge and pass it on to future generations? If the future is the present, why not nurture it now