In honor of Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday yesterday, I wanted to post a beautiful work by an artist I came across who pays homage to this great man. Shanghai-based artist Phil Akashi made a work called Tribute to Nelson Mandela, in which he painted a monumental portrait of the international hero from 27,000 punches on a wall using the Chinese characters 自由/“Freedom.

See a video of the artist making this project here

According to the artist: “This artwork exemplifies Nelson Mandela’s 27 years of incarceration but also symbolize his lifelong brave stand for freedom and equality. Nelson Mandela is an extraordinary artist of peace. He sacrificed his own freedom to fight for the freedom of others and therefore represents a fantastic source of inspiration for the entire world.” Phil Akashi (artist’s website)

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela! May you continue to recover and find strength.

- Sarah Kennedy, Associate Educator, MoMA Studio Lab Programs

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