Dazzling exhibition to honour Mandela

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

Mandela@90, a striking art exhibition that focuses on the highlights of Nelson Mandela's life over the past few decades, opened at the Constitution Hill, Braamfontein, yesterday.

The exhibition, which features five of the country's best artists, runs until July 31.

Exhibition curator Natalie Knight says they chose various artists to express love and respect for the icon.

"The works include a depiction of Mandela in his prison garb on Robben Island," Knight says. "It also shows him casting his vote.

"Johannes Maswanganyi has created a wooden sculpture of the image of Mandela emerging strongly from a tree trunk, surrounded by the flags of the new South Africa."

Roy Ndinisa's detailed watercolour-and-ink drawing is the highlight of the exhibition. It was painted in 1993.

The work he expresses the longing for a black president at a time when it seemed unlikely.

His carved and painted woodcut symbolises Mandela's vital contribution to the country.

Beverley Price's jewellery piece, titled Contemporary Replica of a Xhosa Neckpiece that Nelson Mandela wore before his sentencing on June 12 1964, will attract art lovers.

"That type of defiant political expression bears testimony to the power that humankind attributes to the rituals of adornment," Knight says.

Johannes Maswanganyi says it was an honour for him to be part of the Mandela@90Exhibition.

"It brings back apartheid memories. I remember that I was once arrested for a passport. People like Mandela have made a difference to our lives."