Marna Coetzee
2 minute read
18 Nov 2014
1:51 pm

Mandela’s Sea Point glasses vandalised

Marna Coetzee

Sea Point Promenade recently became home to an installation by artist Michael Elion that pays tribute to the late Nelson Mandela.

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

The super-sized spectacles, titled Perceiving Freedom, made of stainless steel, are a full 60m2 in size and look out to Robben Island; creating a focal point of commemoration between its location and our country’s history.

Artist Michael Elion's sculptural tribute to Nelson Mandela is seen at the Sea Point Promenade in Cape Town, Thursday, 6 November 2014. The giant sunglasses are titled Perceiving Freedom looks in the direction of Robben Island. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/SAPA

Artist Michael Elion’s sculptural tribute to Nelson Mandela, Perceiving Freedom. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/SAPA

There was a lot of debate around the art work; not everyone appreciated the Elion-City of Cape Town collaboration and, instead, saw it as opportunistic.

Duane Jethro said the art work suggests Mandela is beckoning us from the afterlife to buy Ray-Ban sunglasses, to do our duty for reconciliation and nation-building by consuming this luxury product.”

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While Richard Poplak from the Daily Maverick described the work as “pointedly non-political, inclusionary, and user-friendly”.

The group Tokolos Stencils who stand for ‘freedom and justice’ (and are ‘willing to fight for it’) have vandalised the art work.

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

The vandals say they ‘intervene in white supremacist corporatist art’.

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

The group says “there is always space to broaden our vision so that we can all see the bigger picture” on Mandela’s sunglasses.

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Their tumblr page says they are an anonymous group of artisits, activists and concerned citizens – remaining anonymous because their work is often illegal.

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

They believe South Africans need to be reminded that freedom will remain ‘elusive’ unless we fight for it.

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)

Picture: Tumblr (tokolosstencils)