Nelson Mandela Memorialized by Bizarre, Giant Sunglasses

Artnet News | Sarah Cascone:


The latest monument to Nelson Mandela, unveiled on South Africa’s Cape Town waterfront last week, has been roundly criticized by the Atlantic’s CityLab. The work of local artist Michael Elion, the statue is meant to honor the late South African president, but takes the form of a puzzling pair of giant stainless steel Ray-Ban Wayfarers sunglasses.

Michael Elion, Perceiving Freedom, a new memorial to the late South African president Nelson Mandela.
Photo: Michael Elion.

It remains unclear how anyone in a position of authority deemed the sunglasses to be an appropriate tribute to the beloved activist and politician who helped end South African apartheid. It was considered a huge affront to Mandela’s legacy that a pair of artists had inserted a minuscule rabbit figurine inside the ear of a 30-foot-tall statue of the late leader unveiled in Pretoria earlier this year…


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