Bonhams auction house is providing the Nelson Mandela paintings as an NFT series. The previous South African president painted the My Robben Island, a collection of five visual watercolor pieces, from memory. Thus, the artworks show his individual perception of where he spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.
The anti-apartheid idol painted the artworks after stepping down as president in 1999. Apart from the 5 paintings, the NFT series consists of The Motivation as well. This is a manuscript that describes Mandela’s portrayal of the island’s harsh prison.
All six works have his signature and have very personal images. For instance, The Cell, illustrates the interior of the space that Mandela engaged during his Ruben Island years. In addition, the place has become a shrine visited by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Mandela’s meager assets are piled up under the window.
The Former president’s daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, stated that her father’s watercolors illustrated “the victory of the human soul”. “Presenting artworks as NFTs is a way to reach new audiences”, she added. My father was all about making an available community”. This is a way to democratize his art.”
However, Giles Peppiatt, director of modern and contemporary African art at Bonhams, echoed Makizawe’s feelings. He also noted that digital art attracted “new audience which possibly would not go to art galleries and museums.”