19 November 2018.To commemorate the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, the Mall of Africa in collaboration with the Julie Miller Investment Art Institute, hosted an exclusive exhibition in the Crystal Court by local artist Vusi Mbulali, titled “Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebration Visual Art Exhibition”, on Thursday 15 November.
The Nelson Mandela Centenary Collection is a body of original artwork, consisting of 100 portrait paintings and drawings of Nelson Mandela, by Mbulali. The vision behind this body of work is to celebrate the late President and his story with the South African people, by illustrating his many faces as a man, leader and the people’s representative.
The exhibition is supported by the Julie Miller Investment Art Institute, which has a standing partnership with the Mall and hosts the biannual Africa Art Collective, Seasons exhibitions at the Mall. Each Art Collective has hosted over 500 artworks by 130 artists. Through this initiative, the Mall looks to provide an opportunity to showcase a world class art collection in a retail space to engage the public and foster support for the arts, while also giving young upcoming artists the opportunity to exhibit alongside established artists.
“In addition to be the home of unique lifestyle experiences, the Mall of Africa constantly draws inspiration from the unique stories that our continent has to offer. Nelson Mandela is one of the most iconic leaders of our time and we saw fit to honour him with this event,” said Johann Fourie, General Manager of Mall of Africa.
Vusi Mbulali is a South African born, paint artist who specialises in portrait painting. His most recent work includes painting South African heroes such as the late Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Steve Biko (you can find a number of his art pieces at the Steve Biko Foundation). Discovered when he was only 12 years old, Mbulali uses abstract art techniques to express a unique interpretation of the iconic faces he paints.
In addition to paying homage to Mandela, the exhibition also seeks to bring awareness to the plight of poor school girls who are unable to afford sanitary pads. According to UNICEF, one in ten school girls in Africa miss class or drop out completely due to their period, and many are forced to substitute regular pads or tampons for less safe and less absorbent materials such as rags, newspapers or bark. Visitors of the Mall are encouraged to donate a pack of pads when visiting the exhibition. These will be donated to local schools, as well as various charities that support this cause.
Everyone who donates a pack of pads will be entered into a competition where they stand a chance to win a copy of the “Madiba, The Face of a Nation” limited-edition coffee table art book, which is a compilation of the art displayed at the exhibition.
In addition to the quarterly Africa Art Collective Seasons exhibitions, the Mall was also recently named the official host of the National Antiques and Decorative Arts Faire (NAADA). The Mall of Africa is fast becoming a new super-hub for the African creative industry.
The Nelson Mandela Centenary Collection will be running from 15th November to 21st November. Mall of Africa visitors will get to view the exhibition, free of charge. None of the artwork displayed, nor the coffee table book are for sale.