Nelson Mandela death – an artist’s tribute

Artist in Resident Jason Skinner has created images paying tribute to Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95.

He writes: “I was eight years old when Nelson Mandela was released from prison. It was international news. He was being hailed as a hero and inspiration. They tried to teach us about apartheid and the reasons for Mr Mandela’s arrest.

“It didn’t make any sense to me that a person could go to jail because of the colour of his skin. It made less sense that a person could go to jail for 27 years because of the colour of his skin. It also didn’t make sense that it was a national security problem that this man stood up for himself and millions of others because they deserved to be treated equally.

“What made even less sense to me, being eight at the time, was that Mr Mandela was not publicly angry about being imprisoned for 27 years, for what I believe to be no reason whatsoever.

“Now, 22 years later, it still does not make much sense to me that Mr Mandela was not angry, but I am humbled by it. His strength, courage and capacity for forgiveness were gifts that my generation were lucky enough to witness.

“In this illustration I wanted to show him looking out from his cell at Robben Island – inspiration partly taken from a famous photograph taken by Jürgen Schadeberg. I wanted to show him catching rain with his open hands. I think open hands are a sign of peace, hope and welcoming.”

Nelson Mandela 1 by Jason Skinner

Nelson Mandela 1, by Jason Skinner, Artist in Residence. Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported

Nelson Mandela 2, by Jason Skinner

Nelson Mandela 1, by Jason Skinner, Artist in Residence. Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported

What are your memories and impressions of Mr Mandela? Have you created your own artistic tributes? Please share them with us.

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