|“Spirit of Freedom” Exhibit Celebrates Work & Mission of Nelson Mandela
American Tobacco To Welcome Public to View Artwork
“Nelson Mandela is the toughest, strongest person that I know of, yet the gentlest. You pick that up in his artwork.”
– CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon
The artwork of Nelson Mandela is dramatically unveiled at a reception at American Tobacco on Thurs, Jan 25th.
GlaxoSmithKline US Pharma Diversity Director Lynn Henderson once saw Nelson Mandela along with a cheering crowd of 750,000 along the streets of New York. “It was the most thrilling and moving and momentous event of my life…until tonight,” she told a group at the unveiling of Mandela’s artwork in downtown Durham.
A crowd of special guests gathered for an exclusive preview of the Mandela works in American Tobacco’s Bay 7 in downtown Durham. A VIP reception accompanied the unveiling on Thursday, January 25, 2007, at 6pm.
“Spirit of Freedom: Drawings & Narratives from Nelson Mandela’s Imprisonment at Robben Island” features several numbered & signed lithographs and will be on display for the public in the Strickland Building on the American Tobacco Campus from February 1 – April 27.
Guests are in awe of the artwork, taking time to pour over the pieces with their eyes.
Jazz music sets the mood.
Cindy Sink (left) & Peter Anlyan greet new arrivals at the door. Sink’s Shoestring Creative Group helped with media for the event.
CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon purchased the pieces on a trip he took to South Africa last year. The lithographs grabbed him, and he couldn’t get them off his mind. He had toured Robben Island – a former prisoner served as guide – and later passed an art gallery. He saw a piece that he knew had to be of Robben Island which caught his attention. He was amazed to find that Nelson Mandela himself had created the pieces and visited the gallery twice that same day. Goodmon was so moved that he abandoned his group mid-tour in another part of South Africa the next day, took a cab back to the gallery, and purchased them.
Goodmon told American Tobacco General Manager Paul Pope he wanted to share them, for others to see them, so Pope put together an exhibit to welcome the public to see the amazingly simple yet moving work of South Africa’s anti-apartheid leader, champion of equality and freedom.
“This is a milestone for North Carolina and for American Tobacco,” said Pope. “It’s one of our biggest exhibits.”
Nelson Mandela spent 27 years as a political prisoner in his native country, almost 20 years of which he spent on Robben Island working in a quarry. He spoke of his existence as being devoid of color. The walls were gray, the prison guards wore khaki, white was relief.
“Exposure to other colors was limited and very brief,” said Mandela. He spent “27 long years with an occasional glimpse of the bright colors that enrich lives, and then came freedom.”
After being freed, Mandela said he felt “like a person who had regained the power of sight.” He “needed to share this rich experience of color, [and it] became a celebration to add color to charcoal drawings.”
Along with CBC and American Tobacco, FOX 50, GlaxoSmithKline and Idearc Media are serving as sponsors of “Spirit of Freedom:Drawings & Narratives from Nelson Mandela’s Imprisonment at Robben Island.” The exhibit is free, open to the public, and will be on display from February 1 – April 27. The exhibition area is open Monday – Sunday 9am-6pm. Groups of 10 or more are welcome but must register online at the American Tobacco website.
POSTED: January 29, 2007