Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela *Modelling in progress
Bronzes of Africa wouldn’t be complete without this Universal icon of humanity.
I started this mask of Nelson Mandela two months before he died, and after his passing I have left it as a work-in-progress, to take it up once more when I feel right to do so. What a great man, completely inspiring with his firm unwavering rhetoric about peace in South Africa, dignity for all and the exclusion of no-one.
I had the privilege of spending time with him on two occasions in the early 90’s.
The first occasion was when I spent a day with him in a studio in Wineberg, interviewing him on camera for a documentary. My over-riding impression was ‘what a gentleman’. After 27 years on Robben Island, here was this man with rhetoric that included all South Africans. (I, in fact was only made a citizen in 1993).
The second occasion was when Chris Harni had just been assassinated, and Nelson Mandela was to address the nation to appeal for calm. I was called and asked to come to Shell house with suitable equipment for this address to the nation. Quite why they wanted me to do this remains a mystery, but also for me a great an honour.
I did speak to Madiba on a third occasion when I was on the same flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and I asked him if I could make a bronze of him. He didn’t refuse the request, but referred me to talk to the Nelson Mandela Trust. Unfortunately they never got back to me.
Not to be rushed - I want to do justice to a piece of art that honours this great leader and world icon.