Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin is putting on an exhibit, ‘The Ties that Bind,’ beginning July 22 of Dr. Charles Smith’s works from a home he had in Illinois. He apparently had gone to Kohler asking for their assistance in caring for the sculptures at that site. A couple of years ago when I was in Hammond, Louisiana, I went by Dr. Charles Smith’s home here:
Kohler’s statement regarding the works from the Illinois site that make up the exhibit:
The figures that populated Smith’s yard are heroes and heroines, spiritual leaders, artists and musicians, athletes, and personal friends. His subjects convey pride, celebrate talent, acknowledge despair, reflect endurance, and embody the ability to survive through resilience, humor, and joy. Smith sculpted an educational environment where Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X testify while a black “drunk driver” elsewhere sits disgraced. In Smith’s world, images of loving grandmothers were juxtaposed with those of violent gang members, slaves with bleeding welts, African tribal figures, and laughing children. Cultural ancestry is blended with details of American history.
The artist used the detritus of his own neighborhood, melded with a concrete mixture, to make many hundreds of figures. Smith recognized that the act of making sculptures not only helped him face his personal demons but also allowed him to tell stories he believed must be told…