By Evan Sharma
To view a more detailed image of this artwork, click here.
Size: 48" x 60" (Acrylic on canvas)
46664 is a portrait or the iconic South African leader Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid political leader who led the revolution to free his people from oppression. After being incarcerated for 27 years Mandela became South Africa's first black president from 1994-1999.
To execute this painting, I first worked on an underpainting of Mandela's time on Robben Island. What struck me from reading his autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom, was how he honed his internal discipline during his time behind bars and did not feel ill will towards his jailors. In fact, following his release he became close to one of them. To me, while the details of the underpainting remain unseen to the viewers, they add depth and texture to the painting, much like earlier life experiences do for all of us. The overlayer shows a powerful Mandela at the lectern giving his first speech as South Africa’s president. Demonstrated on the rear of the work is a composition depicting the landscape of Robben Island.
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