2nd Annual Exhibition of Mandela’s Artwork Opens at American Tobacco

American TobaccoFOX 50

2nd Annual Exhibition of Mandela’s Artwork Opens at American Tobacco
“Nelson Mandela:  A Light So Powerful” To Run January 25 – April 30

“Today when I look at Robben Island I see it as a celebration of the struggle and a symbol of the finest qualities of the human spirit, rather than as a monument to the brutal tyranny and oppression of apartheid. It is true that Robben Island was once a place of darkness, but out of that darkness has come a wonderful brightness, a light so powerful that it could not be hidden behind prison walls … I have attempted to colour the island sketches in ways that reflect the positive light in which I view it.”
– Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela:  A Light So Powerful On Thursday, January 24, 2008, American Tobacco unveiled its second Nelson Mandela exhibit in two years.  “Nelson Mandela:  A Light So Powerful” includes five limited edition lithographs, signed by him, the artist, and several posters from the historic 1994 South Africa election.  The exhibit also includes a miners helmet and historic photograph of Mandela.

The exhibit, which is housed in the Strickland Building lobby on the American Tobacco campus in downtown Durham, opened on January 25th and will be on display through April 30th.

The Harbour
Nelson Mandela’s “My Robben Island I” sketches are on display in American Tobacco’s latest exhibit of his work.

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A picture is worth a thousand words, but no camera can do justice to “Nelson Mandela: A Light So Powerful.” Stop by to see the exhibit in person.

“Nelson Mandela:  A Light So Powerful” is free and open to the public.  Groups of 25 or more are asked to register online. The exhibit space is open from 9:00am to 6:00pm, seven days a week.

In February 2007, American Tobacco opened “Spirit of Freedom,” an exhibition of sketches from Mandela’s “Robben Island II.”  CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon purchased the pieces after falling in love with them on a trip to South Africa the year before.

The reaction to the first set of prints and the passion both Goodmon & CBC Vice President of Community Relations Paul Pope have for Mandela’s work and his cause, brought about the purchase of this second set of works.  The artwork in “Nelson Mandela:  A Light So Powerful” is actually comprise the series “My Robben Island I.”

“Nelson Mandela:  A Light So Powerful” is sponsored by American Tobacco, Capitol Broadcasting Company, FOX 50 and GlaxoSmithKline.

More About Nelson Mandela

Reception guests
Guests at the VIP reception unveiling the exhibit, take in the full display.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1918, Nelson Mandela led opposition to the South African Government’s official policy of apartheid (racial segregation).  In 1962, he was imprisoned for his political activity, and he was not released until 1990.  During his incarceration Mandela became an icon of the anti-apartheid movement.  In, 1994, he was elected the first president of South Africa through a ballot conducted on the principle of one person one vote, an historic event that got notice from around the world.

The exhibit includes posters from the 1994 election which were borrowed from the private collections of Dollie Burwell & Dr. Karin Shaprio.

Mandela spent his prison years in Robben Island, located 8 miles off the Cape Town harbor.  The lithographs in “Nelson Mandela:  A Light So Powerful” depict sites from Robben Island, but Mandela adds splashes of color to offset the miserable conditions he suffered while in captivity. 

“I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people,” he said. “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.  I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.  It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve.  But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Read about the reception unveiling “Nelson Mandela: A Light So Powerful”:


“Nelson Mandela: A Light So Powerful” Exhibit

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