With the Chinese characters for “freedom” (自由) on a stamp attached to his boxing glove, Belgian artist Phil Akashi punched a wall 27,000 times to create a likeness of Nelson Mandela. He made it in tribute to the international hero, utilizing his particular brand of “seal art,” where he only uses East Asian Seals as the medium.
“I am addicted to seals, I collect seals, I paint with seals, I love seals. Creating with East Asian seals as a medium is a wonderful opportunity to tribute and to sustain a very old tradition with passion, emotion and innovation. It is also an exciting way to advance their potential with a European sensitivity.”
He used a Chinese seal and cinnabar paste for Nelson Mandela’s significance in Taoist culture. He opted for black cinnabar paste to honor Mandela’s struggle against apartheid. The painting can be found in the Shanghai Graffiti Park, surrounded by the graffiti of local street artists.
“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.”
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