Three decades of Nelson Mandela’s life are on display at a photography exhibit in New York. The photographs were taken by South African photojournalist Benny Gool.
This is Gool’s first exhibition of his photographs of Mandela and about 30 images are on display from Gool’s photo archive of about 30,000 shots.
The photography exhibit includes photos of Mandela taken with other icons such as the Dalai Lama, Princess Diana and pop star Michael Jackson. But it is the photograph of Mandela with 13-year-old Willem Venter, taken in 1997, that is Gool’s favorite.
“There is an image of a little, blind boy, a little Afrikaner boy. And if you know the story of South Africa, you would know the tension between Afrikaners and black people. And we were on this train called the Blue Train which was quite a posh train in South Africa and it was the first time Mandela had embarked on a train trip. Quite a lot of fanfare and they had to bulletproof the train, especially for him and stuff. But as the train came through one of these Afrikaner towns, we got a call to say there was a little Afrikaner boy on the platform and he was blind and he just wanted to touch Madiba’s face. And of course, the train pulled up, and Madiba got out, and just stood in front of this boy and this boy was just touching his face. Quite a magic moment,” remembers Gool.
Gool’s work spans 30 of the most turbulent years of Mandela’s life and includes the years of protest against apartheid, Mandela’s release from prison and his presidency.
The exhibition called “MADIBA – Images of Nelson Mandela” is on display at the POP International Galleries in Manhattan.
The cost of photographs starts at $1,500, or just over 1100 euros, with some of the proceeds from the sale to be donated to a children’s art charity.