Reflections on a nation's "father"

Art July 22, 2013 00:00

By Nelson Mandela's 95th birthda

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Associated Press Johannesburg

Giant portraits of Nelson Mandela and colourful posters, South African artists celebrate the 95th birthday of the leader, who remains hospitalised although his condition has improved.

The “father of the nation” inspired many artists to create works to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day last Thursday, declared by the United Nations as a way to recognise the Nobel Prize winner's contribution to reconciliation.

Artists John Adams and Paul Blomkamp created two of the largest Mandela paintings in tribute to the iconic leader for his years of public service to his community. They say their paintings reflect the scale of Mandela’s global contributions and the exceptional energy of the anti-apartheid leader.

Adams said he felt driven to create the painting as thanks to Mandela for creating educational opportunities that enabled him to become an artist, and plans to auction the painting, the proceeds of which will fund children’s charities.

Mandela spent 27 years imprisoned under South Africa's apartheid government and became its first democratically elected president in 1994.