Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nelson Mandela in sawdust


Two years ago this month, the U.N. honored Nelson Mandela by designating July 18 as Nelson Mandela International Day. I don't know if the artist Archie Byron (d. 2005) ever met Mandela, but he was certainly inspired by him. Nineteen years before the U.N. bestowed its honor, Byron made this sawdust portrait of the great South African leader, now 93. The year was 1990 when Mandela's 27 years of imprisonment came to an end. Byron owned a gun shop and was a local leader, serving on the Atlanta City Council. But it turns out his greatest gift to the public is what he did with the gunstock waste on the floor of his shop. A brief YouTube video shows the artist at work.

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