Writing Art History Since 2002

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Today the world celebrates the 94th birthday of Nelson Mandela, South African former president, struggle hero and role model of millions. It’s not only in politics and humanitarian efforts that Madiba has left his indelible mark, but also in art. Aside from being an artist of some merit himself, some of the world’s greatest artists have put their hands to tributes to our Madiba. We’re not talking giant bronzes in shopping malls, but serious, gobsmacking, history-making art. To celebrate this special day Art South Africa shares a selection of some of the most memorable Madiba art moments.


Mandela Hand of AfricaNelson Mandela, Hand of Africa, undated, lithograph


Above: Madiba gives British artist a run for his money with this strongly graphic work in which the artist’s handprint encloses a negative space in the shape of Africa.


KUMALO MandelaAlf Kumalo, A Mother Remembers, undated, gelatin silver print


Above: Alf Kumalo, a friend and long-time photographer of Madiba, took this photograph shortly after Nelson Mandela was jailed. It depicts his mother showing a photograph of her son to group of children and sympathisers.


GOLDBLATT MANDELA-1David Goldblatt, Nelson Mandela, Johannesburg, April 1994, silver gelatin print


Above: This is the Madiba we all want to remember, brave, thoughtful and dignified. David Goldblatt took this photograph in 1994, shortly after South Africa’s first democratic elections.


FEATURED IMAGE: Marlene Dumas, A Portrait of a Young Nelson Mandela, 2008, lithograph

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