Shanghai based artist Phil Akashi
pays tribute to international hero Nelson Mandela, painting a monumental portrait made of 27.000 boxing punches with the Chinese characters 自由/Freedom.
According to the artist: This artwork exemplifies Nelson Mandelas 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. Phil Akashi
The artist chose to use a Chinese seal and Cinnabar paste for his significance in Taoist culture; red Cinnabar was regarded as the color of life and eternity. But he firmly decided to use black cinnabar paste to honor Mandelas struggle against apartheid. This symbolic and powerful new painting resides in the Shanghai Graffiti Park, and is surrounded by a mix of graffiti made by local street artists.
Also known as the seal artist, Phil Akashi is a Belgian emerging artist using East Asian Seals as a medium to create unique and elaborate artworks. By revisiting the traditional use of seals with a European sensitivity, Phil Akashi forges a new artistic language that links East and West and places the past in the service of the present.
"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." Phil Akashi
Nelson Mandela's long struggle against apartheid and for equality "showed us that one man's courage can move the world.'' President Obama
Phil Akashi is working on several projects and painting series.