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Artist
Arthur Peter Dilbert
Title
Walking Stick with Leopard and Alligator
Date
1993
Medium
cedar
Dimensions
40 1/8 × 3 1/2 inches (101.9 × 8.9 cm)
Tags
Sculpture
Credit Line
Museum purchase.
Accession Number
1998.9
Arthur Dilbert, a former longshoreman, emblazoned nearly all of his walking sticks with an alligator – a personal symbol. The alligator derives from a saying amongst longshoremen, “don’t let the alligator beat you to the pond” referring to longshoremen stacking bales in a ship’s hold. Those who reached the ship’s center last would often have to redo their labors. Dilbert was born in the fishing community of Pin Point, where he was exposed to woodcarving in the community and began carving needles for the weaving of fishing nets and making his own toys. As an adult he took up woodcarving while working at the port. He befriended Ulysses Davis, sometimes bringing him wood from the docks to carve. Dilbert has also been instrumental in passing his craft on to others. He received a folk art apprenticeship grant from the State of Georgia, teaching his son, grandson and other men his techniques. His works are included in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Atlanta History Center and Telfair Museums.