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LA Blacksmith at the California African American Museum
November 4, 2019 • 8:00 am - November 11, 2019
On view: September 10, 2019–February 16, 2020
In Africa, blacksmiths emerged in 1500 BCE, and were highly regarded—sometimes feared— due to metal working’s magic process. Metallurgy then survived Middle Passage, and was brought to the Americas, where the knowledge was safely guarded and passed down. LA Blacksmith celebrates this historic craft, and focuses on artists in Los Angeles that have infused their own artistic interpretations onto the traditional West African tradition. Some mined the wreckage of the Watts Riots for materials, bringing the traditional roots of the metal work within a sharper present day focus. Others approach metalwork from a more feminine, delicate perspective, countering the male dominated history of the field. As a whole, the show is both historic and forward looking, considering the mystical and restorative properties of metal to react, remake, and renew.