By Robert Burgins, Jr.
The tribute to known Alabama artist, Mr. Dilrico Marcino Gibson was a splendid dedication this past Monday. Held at the Alys Stephens Center’s Sirote Theatre, family, friends, Abroms-Engle & U.A.B. staff came out to show their love for such a gifted and beloved artist.
Mr. Dilrico passed unexpectedly in late August of this year to many of our surprise, not to mention it being a few months ago when we celebrated Mr. Gibson’s triumphant art exhibit, “Strings of Gratitude” (which was hosted at Abroms-Engle Visual Arts institution) that displayed Mr. Gibson’s unique abstract artworks that were dedicated to many health care physicians of UAB. Anyone familiar with his story, knows Mr. Gibson suffered a tumultuous accident which left him burned severely and almost incapable of ever functioning as a normal human being, but through his spiritual faith, strength and with the help of UAB’s doctors, Delrico was able to continue his passion as an artist.
Touching and introspective, with words from his Wife, Mother and UAB faculty, the memorial tribute wasn’t without touching thoughts, and inspiring connotations from a life well lived.
We talked with Mr. Gibson’s Mother, Ms. Lee Lockwood who spoke on Delrico’s early days as a youth as well as his intrigue and talent for using his hands for making artistic objects early in life. She spoke passionately to the audience in regards to Mr. Gibson’s high applause for those who helped him during his health crisis. Ms. Lockwood also told us, “We really appreciate this, that they thought so highly of my son to curate such a memorial for Delrico’s life not only for his art but as a human being.”
Mrs. Jackie Gibson (wife of Mr. Gibson) gave a heartfelt message to the audience as she spoke on the appreciation of having someone like Mr. Gibson as a true friend and husband through a speech of dedication that explained who Mr. Gibson was as a husband, father, grandfather, friend and dedicated contributor to the art world. She was also presented with a residential plaque of dedication from Clanton city councilman, Awlahjaday Agee.
Senior Director of Abroms-Engle, John Fields gave an emotional retrospective of Mr. Gibson’s life, as he told about his first impression and meeting with Mr. Gibson, as well as his first on-air appearance with the artist, whom seemed very reluctant and self-conscious, “But when the cameras started rolling it was as if he’d been conducting interviews all of his life and this was his very first time doing so and I had to ask myself, am I being scammed?” though emotional, garnered soft laughter from the crowd. Mr. Fields also spoke about how Delrico made one feel as if he’d known them his whole life in first meeting them, followed with his poetic tributes from works by Tupac Shakur and Maya Angelou to the memory of Mr. Gibson.
He also spoke about how often artists of Alabama are overlooked and was grateful he and staff of Abroms-Engle could do their part by presenting gifted artistic residents in Alabama like Mr. Gibson to broader statewide audiences.
We also spoke to Diane Coleman, who was highly revered by Mr. Gibson for her therapeutic help and motivations within his healing process. She told us, “Delrico was always a strong patient who never gave up as he was a hard worker who knew that those therapy sessions would garner great results; we’ve reaped the benefits of his diligence to get better by the magnificent art he’s left behind that we’ll treasure for years to come.”
Moving musical tributes were also delivered by Dr. Reginald Jackson and UAB students through songs “I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry” and “My Life Is in Your Hands.”
We remember and salute the strength, inspiration and legacy of Mr. Delrico Gibson as we send condolences to his family and friends.
May we remember him and find colors of beauty within our own lives as he shared and included within his life and canvases of art pieces that exemplified gratitude.
Thanks Mr. Gibson for your inspirational life and motivation to be the best at whatever we do. (April 9, 1958- August 26, 2023).