Nelson Mandela has died, aged 95
Imprisoned under South Africa’s apartheid regime for 27 years, he was frequently portrayed by artists, photographers and sculptors after his release
By Javier Pes. Web only
Published online: 05 December 2013
Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, died today, aged 95, after a long illness. A prisoner of the country’s post-war apartheid regime for 27 years, he survived and went on to lead the African National Congress to victory in the country's first multi-racial elections in 1994.
During his long years imprisoned on Robben Island, few images of Mandela were taken. He was tried and sentenced as a young man—the anti-apartheid lawyer and politician narrowly escaped a death sentence when he was tried along with ten others for sabotage and conspiracy in what became known as the Rivonia trial of 1963-64. After he was released, he was frequently portrayed by artists, photographers and sculptors.
The South African-born, Netherlands-based artist Marlene Dumas created one of the most famous portraits of Mandela, depicting him as a young man. The artist donated the work to the Nelson Mandela Foundation in 2009.
A photograph of Mandela by Adrian Steirn sold in New York this week for $200,000. Eykyn Maclean, New York and London, facilitated the sale, part of the proceeds of which will go to a children’s hospital named after Mandela in Johannesburg.
The statesman also turned his hand to drawing during his life, creating a set of sketches of Robben Island loosley based on photographs taken by Grant Warren. According to the co-owner of the Belgravia Gallery, which sells lithographs of the works, Mandela once said "he would much prefer to be an artist, rather than a book writer".
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