Evident in the placement and purpose of Charles Dickson's artwork in Sankofa Park, Car Culture is the unique confluence recognizing spirit, place and intention in Black cultural life in Los Angeles where cars replace the symbol of the African bird for mobility. Car Culture is a trio of elongated figures resembling famous West African Senufo ritual objects. For the Senufo, these carved figures are the conduit between the living and spirit worlds, and Dickson continues this practice by connecting fiber optic cable between these larger than life portals to the past and the car fronts and ends that become their crown. Cars are a fundamental component of Crenshaw street life that brings together innovation, creativity and the communal joy of gathering in celebration of the unbounded ingenuity of Black and Brown makers. Car Culture incorporates self-referential elements of cars one might see when the low riders gather in Leimert Park. Atop these car parts rests a fanciful engine, a metaphor for our capacity to be the engineers of our own futures by sustaining our relationships with the vitality of the past and the elders who make space for our success from the spirit world. Dickson’s contribution is the embodiment of Sankofa – looking back to get what is necessary for our future.
Pictured above is the Exclusive Charles Dickson Car Culture piece.
THE BIRTH OF OUR VISION
Our story reflects the legacy of resilience and creativity Black Americans have demonstrated throughout history. When plans were made to run the Crenshaw/LAX airport light rail line through Black LA’s main thoroughfare, we knew the train’s arrival would provide an unprecedented opportunity to expose thousands of tourists and new visitors to the cultural heart of the Black community. So, we rose to meet the moment. Coming together, the community decided to create the largest reparative Black art and economic revival program in the country. We are building community spaces, planting 800 new trees, investing in local businesses, creating local jobs, and funding commissions for more than 100 Black artists.
Now, when the world enters Los Angeles along the new Metro line, it will be greeted by the art, energy, and legacy of accomplishment of Black LA.
Below is a Charles Dickson Destination Crenshaw Rendering
Charles Dickson has been an important figure in the Black LA art scene for several decades. His intricate carvings in wood and metal reflect the African Diaspora with direct references to traditional motifs, languages and styles of well-documented and heavily collected African ritual objects and language including Ghanaian Adinkra symbols. His iconic Compton studio is a place of wonder that merges history with the present through Dickson’s own fantastical imagination. He represents the crossroads between the continent as the modern Black American migration story westward, as well as between the elders including Charles White, John Riddle, Noah Purifoy and Judson Powell who were instrumental in mentoring the young artist and helping shape his visual voice.
Picture above is an exclusive Charles Dickson Destination Crenshaw piece.
© 2022 by The Dickson Studio. Created by Kase Qtr.