Nxa – Hated it: Tata’s rose-tinted glasses

2014-11-09 15:00

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As the legacy of Nelson Mandela lives on, the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014, in conjunction with artist Michael Elion, is exhibiting a giant pair of stainless steel sunglasses to commemorate the statesman.

The project, called Perceiving Freedom, consists of supersize glasses with special lenses that create a rainbow effect when a viewer looks through them with polarised sunglasses.

Elion is big on rainbows. One of his past projects involved man-made rainbows across the City of Cape Town as well as rainbow-coloured stickers as part of what he called the Secret Love project.

Located at Sea Point promenade, the sculptural tribute is set to look out in contemplation towards Robben Island with the purpose of introducing an axis and dialogue between the location and our country’s history.

It seems a bit strange to be perceiving freedom by looking back at the sight of oppression, and by having apartheid-era leader FW de Klerk be part of the launch of the work.

What’s even more irksome, is the fact that the glasses look like Ray Ban’s wayfarers – it’s basically a huge marketing ploy using Tata’s name.

When will this constant commodification of Mandela stop?

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