My Introduction to Olayami Dabls


I like to take weekend trips to get away. So, a close friend and I got in the car and drove to Detroit, which is about two hours away from where we lived. As we approached the city from the highway, we saw an unusual house. It was brightly decorated with color and what appeared to be jewels. We hit the exit ramp to explore. As we got closer, we became more excited. It looked like rogue, graffiti painted on two abandoned houses. However, we quickly realized that it was much too sophisticated and elaborate to be guerilla art. There were symbols and what I knew as African rock art, carefully arranged as if they were communicating a message. These messages were punctuated with broken mirrors. We parked the car, and walked through the yard. There were gigantic human forms made out of recycled metals and scraps. It was beautiful! As we walked further into this maze, Olayami Dabls came to greet us. By this time, we were high! He was happy to share his story. Afterwards, we hugged and took pictures like we were long lost relatives. He took us inside of the museum. It was a treasure chest of beads and jewelry from all over the continent of Africa. He was well- versed and in tune with our history and he told us stories about how he acquired his talent, and how he created this project. He also talked about our ancestors and explained the messages in his work. We were reluctant to leave, but thanked our Creator for bringing us upon this thirst-quenching experience. The knowledge this elder gave, was priceless. If you ever get a chance, you must visit this wonderful place and speak to this wonderful man. It’s called Dabls African Bead Gallery and MBAD Museum. He is African History.

Thanks for reading,

Shila Iris



2 thoughts on “My Introduction to Olayami Dabls

    • Yes, it was great! I will never forget it. Everytime that I am in Detroit, I stop by, even if the museum is closed, I just walk through the yard to enjoy the ambiance of Afrikan vibes.


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