Carrying forward Nelson Mandela’s vision
Opening – “Ubuntu / I am because of you”
Please join us for the Opening of a Group Exhibition:
Thursday 1 May 2014 from 6-9pm
1697 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6N 1J2
Exhibition1 1 May – June 14, 2014
Gallery Hours Wednesday-Saturday 12 pm – 6 pm
Ubuntu – Nelson Mandela’s vision of connection, community and mutual caring for all constituted his legacy. “Mandela said often that the gift of prison was the ability to go within and to think, to create within himself the things he most wanted for South Africa: peace, reconciliation, harmony. through this act of intense open-heartedness, he was to become the embodiment of what is South Africa we call “Ubuntu / I am because of you.” – Boyd Varty
UBUNTU (Nguni Bantu term meaning: “human-ness”)
This group exhibition was initiated and conceived as a way of honoring and carrying forward the vision of one of the world’s most famous human rights campaigners and political prisoners as well as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. Nelson Mandela’s vision of connection, community and mutual caring for all constituted his legacy.
His passionate and unrelenting striving for a better world in which social justice, gender plus racial equality and all human rights are respected and given the highest priority, survive in many souls to this day!
“Mandela said often that the gift of prison was the ability to go within and to think, to create within himself the things he most wanted for South Africa: peace, reconciliation, harmony. Through this act of intense open-heartedness, he was to become the embodiment of what in South Africa we call ‘Ubuntu / I am because of you’….”
Ubuntu is a beautiful and old concept. According to Wikipedia, at its most basic, Ubuntu can be translated as “human kindness,” but its meaning is much bigger in scope since it embodies the ideas of connection, community, and (emphatically) caring for everyone.
Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee once defined using slightly different words than Varty: “I am what I am because of who we all are.”1
“Mandela made it clear that we did not have to accept the world as it is – that we could do our part to seek the world as it should be.” 2
He was extremely patient and persevering in his efforts to rid South Africa from its vicious apartheid regime.
His dedication and ideals were clearly articulated: “Any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose because I will not part with it at any price or under pressure.
To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”3
This is a diverse collection of works originating from many cultural backgrounds.
Our hope is that it will act as a catalyst for asking fundamental questions about humanity, freedom and the role of the artist in bringing about visible, positive and peaceful social change.
Potentially, what role can artists assert in a climate of indifference, silence and prejudice?
Our gallery’s vision was and continues to be to tackle and address internationally, the many faces of intolerance in our world, regardless of location! “Art is not entertainment, at its best it’s a revolution”4
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for them-selves – President Abraham Lincoln expressed this over 130 years ago!
Sadly, if one looks today at the treatment of the Roma in Eastern Europe, France, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic, the recruitment and involvement of child-soldiers for armed conflicts in Africa or the aboriginal children’s fate in New Zealand, we come to the realization that we all are faced with a continuing, substantial and extremely challenging assignment!
The provocatively timely aspect of these works reverberate of eclecticism. Their collective strength speaks of triggering our conscience sufficiently and deeply enough to act decisively while remembering the 27 years of incarcerated struggle of the man often addressed as ‘Madiba’.
Audemus jura nostra defendere (We dare to defend our rights)…
1. Boyd Varty: Talk/Ted.com: ‘What I learned from Nelson Mandela’
2. Nelson Mandela, Conversations with Myself, Doubleday Canada, Toronto, Ontario, 2010, Foreword p.xi
3. Nelson Mandela, 1918-‐2013; ‘A rare vision of magnanimity’ Boston Globe, Dec 6, 2013
4. PEN Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture/Cooper Union’s Great Hall (in, Manhattan), May 6, 2012 – Salman Rushdie