Camel at the Water Hole

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
Welded found metal
46 x 47 x 51 inches
Collection of
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco museum purchase American Art Trust Fund and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Joe Minter’s famous yard show in Birmingham, Alabama, which he terms the “African Village in America,” uses sculptural constructions to document the history of Africans and African Americans and critique America’s political, social, and cultural flaws. Created from welded pickaxes and shovels, Minter’s Camel at the Water Hole critiques the exploitative history of slavery and Jim Crow segregation, which treated African Americans as “beasts of burden” akin to camels. As Minter notes, “My African ancestors built America on the sweat of their backs, in their blood, in their life—free slave labor—and the only pay is death.” —Timothy Anglin Burgard