Mickey Mouse gets an African makeover in time for his 90th birthday

2018-09-30 17:37


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Iconic Disney character Mickey Mouse has been given a makeover, African style - and it's in time for his 90th birthday.

On November 18, the world celebrates Mickey Mouse's birthday.

According to Disney, several events are expected to take place around the world to embrace and celebrate Mickey's impact on global culture.

Ten local artists were given the chance to do their own interpretation of Mickey after Disney Africa delivered 10 six-foot Mickey Mouse sculptures to Art Eye Gallery in Johannesburg.

Gallery director Tyron Selmon said the gallery, which deals with emerging African art, was inspired to be part of the project.

"You don't get a company bigger than Disney International, and so when Disney came and approached us, and said: 'Would you like to be a part of something,' we certainly were very excited."

"It's Mickey Mouse. It's his 90th birthday and we're a young country; and I think that everybody has an idea of what Mickey Mouse means to them. It's a universal symbol for childhood and we were interested to be asked to add value to Mickey Mouse in Africa," he said.

Selmon added that the gallery was also excited to splash some colour on Mickey.

"One of the most exciting things was that all the Mickeys arrived looking identical...with [the] same colour, same size and exactly the same shape. They [have] now [been] given personalities by the artists," he said. 

He said the sculptures gave the artists an opportunity to showcase the diversity of South Africa. 

Artists had two and a half weeks to transform their Mickeys, he explained.

"There really wasn't [any] criteria [other] than wanting to be part of the project and adding value to the project," he said.

According to Selmon the sculptures were delivered to Sandton City on Thursday for an exhibition, which is under way until October 14.

From there, the sculptures will make their way to Gateway shopping centre in Durban and then to Cape Town. 

Twenty-seven-year-old artist Nika Mtwana, who hails from Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, described the project as exciting and a "wonderful opportunity for exposure for him".

"I am very happy to have worked on this with the many other talented artists," Mtwana told News24.

He said it took a week for him to complete painting his Mickey, which he decided would "experience the ultimate form of African self-expression and originality".

Read more on:    disney

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