Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela was a South American political leader who advocated for anti-apartheid, philanthropy and became the first black president of South Africa.His presidency lasted between 1994 and 1999. During Mandela’s presidency, his government aimed its attention towards dismantling institutionalized racism and advancing racial conciliation in order to diminish the legacy of apartheid.

This played a large role in ending the country’s apartheid system.Mandela had such a large influence on South Africa that he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1993. Mandela’s efforts to end racial segregation in South Africa has been acknowledged on an international level, resulting in many books, films and other works of art being made to honour him.

One example of this can be seen in the works of Orticanoodles. Orticanoodles is the nickname of two Italian street artists: Wally and Alita. Wally is from Carrara, Italy and attended the School of Art. He then moved to Milan in 1996 to attend the European Institute of Design to study the course of Advertising Art Direction. While studying in Milan, he met Alita and together they collaborated on the production of hand drawn posters and stencil art. In 2008, Orticanoodles collaborated with Banksy in London in 2008.

PaoPao, Nais, Orticanoodles and Ivan, Nelson Mandela, Milan, 2014

In 2014, Orticanoodles contributed to the creation of the Mandela mural at Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan to celebrate South Africa’s 20 years of democracy. He collaborated with other leading street artists (namely PaoPao, Nais and Ivan). This piece was funded by the municipality of Milan, the South African government and Building Energy (an independent renewable energy producer). Unsurprisingly, Orticanoodles is not the only street artist to honour Nelson Mandela through their craft, as another artist who did so is Btoy.

Btoy is the nickname of the renowned street artist, Andrea Michaelsson. Btoy is from Barcelona and is best known for her incredibly detailed stencil works. Additionally, she also collaborated with Banksy and Orticanoodles in 2008 in London. Her works can be found in cities all over the world, including: Los Angeles, London, Mexico, Barcelona and Brussels. In 2012, Btoy collaborated with street artists Uriginal and Meibol to paint a mural of Nelson Mandela in Barcelona.

Uriginal, Meibol and Btoy. Nelson Mandela, Barcelona. 2012

There are many artists that have honoured Nelson Mandela through their works. This is because Mandela’s ideals of innovation, leadership, community building and diversity resonate with these artists, just as these ideals resonate with SAMA as well. That’s why we aim to become pioneers of innovation, diversity and leadership by example through our community building projects and diversified collection of street art.

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