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The Father of the Nation by Sila Guven (Turkey)

It is important to know artists from other nationalities. I am interested in meeting and working with world artists. Art opens the mind to other ways and works; it reflects our own cultures and lifestyles.

It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.’’ – Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a politician and the president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Mandela studied law in Johannesburg. He was an African student who faced racism. Now, he has come to symbolise the stand for a more equal and free world against apartheid and an unjust regime.

In the postwar period Mandela was a victim of apartheid era attitudes just as the first people of South Africa were victims of racial prejudice. South Africa had been a British colony. British influence restricted the development of the South African economy by extracting gold, diamonds and other materials for immediate export. That gave rise to apartheid. To enforce apartheid in South Africa, authorities were obliged to regulate contact between coloured and non-coloured citizens.

The African National Congress (ANC) became the primary force in opposition to the government replaced by the organisation’s Youth League (ANCYL) in 1949. Mandela was influenced by Walter Sisulu and elected to the ANC’s National Executive which supported a radical black nationalist programme which combined the Africanist ideas of Anton Lembede and Marxism.

The goal of the Freedom Charter was upward social mobility for the whole African population. Originally Mandela had turned to the South African Communist Party to mobilise the black masses to agitate for political change. Political issues in South Africa altered as a result. The aim was to force the regime to institute reforms and improve the economy for the black middle classes.

South Africa saw a period of poorly organised armed struggle. Mandela, during the Rivonia Trial, defended his actions but aimed at controlling the more radical elements in the ANC. South African politics resulted in the ANC being forced into exile, to be sustained by external support while falling almost into total obscurity inside South Africa.

At the end of the campaign, the government arrested 8,000 people and they received nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. Between 1982 and 1888 Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Tokai, Cape Town along with senior ANC leaders Walter Sisulu, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada and Raymond Mhlaba. In December 1988 Mandela was moved to Victor Verster Prison near Paarl.

Mandela was released in 1990 and went on a tour of Africa, then spent time rebuilding the ANC. In 1994 he was elected President of South Africa. He put the matter of black liberation back on the South African agenda. He showed the importance of fighting for and enjoying freedom and equality. He gained international acclaim for his activism, receiving more than 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Soviet Order of Lenin. In 1999 the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and The Mandela Rhodes Foundations opened, along with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, and thereafter the Nelson Mandela Museum, and also the Robben Island Museum to maintain Mandela’s legacy for future generations.

The Father of the Nation by Sila Guven

This painting is against the politics of nationality. Biography My artworks take a critical view of social, political and cultural issues. As a visual artist, I am interested in cultural values, myths and symbols. While I use a variety of traditional or unusual materials and processes in each project my methodology is consistent. The subject matter of each body of work determines the materials and the forms of the work. Each project often consists of multiple works, often in a range of different historical eras, grouped around specific themes and meanings.

During research and production new areas of interest arise and lead to the next body of work. I studied in France for 10 years, then I decided to continue at the Istasyon Fine Arts Academy to develop my studies in art. I was Hulya Duzenli’s personal assistant for three years and I worked as an art teacher. Then I finished a Bachelor’s degree in art illustration with honours at the University of Wolverhampton. Now, I continue my MA studies on Fine Art/ Visual Arts at the UAL, the University of the Arts London, in Camberwell College.

I work as a freelancer. Every year I visit other countries to see their art exhibitions and museums. I also work as a guide in cultural tours in Istasyon Art Academy.

I participated in The New Blood Exhibition and Brixton Gallery with my portfolio in London. I also contributed to the Mix Exhibition at the Sea Museum, Galeri Eksen and Dentaline at Sisli in 2013. I have exhibited my paintings and also worked as a curator for a group show at the Brixton Art Gallery and also participated also in a workshop at the University of Arts London.

Most recently I opened another solo exhibition between at the Akatlar Culture Center in March of 2014.


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