Bart Luirink

18th July 2016 | Countdown #MandelaDay. 'Would you trust this man with your daughter?'

Portrait of a Young Nelson Mandela by Marlene Dumas

One day to go! Nelson Mandela's birthday is being celebrated by people world wide by putting an extra 67 minutes into activism for causes worth fighting for. The number of minutes is inspired by the number of years Mandela put into civil disobedience, the struggle for democracy, challenging the oppressor, speaking out loud and being a statesman for change and prosperity.

Reflection is not the opposite of action. It is a necessary condition for effective and meaningful performance. I like the Mandela that makes you think. And I like the artist inspired by Mandela putting together a work that subtly disturbes. Marlene Dumas' Portrait of a young Nelson Mandela is the perfect example of such a work. Let's not explain the words Dumas wrote under the portrait, let's think about for a moment: 'Would you trust this man with your daughter?'

As a gift for his 90th birthday, the work was handed to the Nelson Mandela Foundation in 2008. Dumas entitled ZAM the to produce 250 art prints of the work, signed and numbered by the artist. All copies were sold. It enabled ZAM to continue building its network of African change makers and offer their perspectives, (journalistic) productions and artistic creations to international audiences.