Nelson Mandela mural is ‘the beginning of Princess Avenue and our journey’

A stunning mural of Nelson Mandela in Toxteth is “the start of Princess Avenue and our journey,” according to locals.

Artist John Culshaw’s mural of the former South African president on a building in Toxteth, at Liverpool 8, is accompanied by one of Mandela’s quotes.

John took seven days to complete the piece, commissioned by Mandela8, next to the Kuumba Imani Millennium Center (KIMC). John told ECHO: “About four of them were painting the wall green. The actual artwork took three days and I hate when someone asks me to write on a piece, I’m not good at it, I’m better at faces.” “. ”

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John said: “Mandela is a legend to me. I grew up in a family of boxers so we didn’t play football, we boxed and somehow my father raised us with Muhammad Ali, he was the pinnacle of our family. “. I see them as the same figure fighting for the same rights.

“Before I knew who Nelson Mandela was, I knew Muhammad Ali and I knew what he fought for and that has always been kind of a bond for me, especially for this piece. That’s what made it so important for me to try and get it.” . correct and also choose the correct quote and the correct image”.

“Bringing the two together was important for me and for (Mandela’s ambassador8) Nze as well. Nze and I worked on that together to find the right image for both of us.

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“We wanted to show you the thought to link it to the word knowledge that’s in the quote. So it all looks like one piece.”

He added: “Nelson Mandela is a man who has given so much to humanity, and by fighting so hard to abolish apartheid, he showed the world that the only way forward is equality.

“I hope that people in the community and visitors who see this mural will take away an insight into the man and an understanding of his wise words.”

Liverpool artist John Culshaw putting the finishing touches on the Nelson Mandela tribute mural at the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre.  (Photo Andrew Teebay).
Liverpool artist John Culshaw putting the finishing touches on the Nelson Mandela tribute mural at the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre. (Photo Andrew Teebay).

Sonia Bassey, president of Mandela 8, said: “It basically marks the beginning of Princes Avenue and our journey as a community towards new beginnings. It’s like a symbol of hope and positivity.”

“When you look at all the media perceptions of the area, all the things we’ve been doing, including that mural, are all about the positives of our house. It is a landmark, a way to attract tourists to the area.

“An iconic image of one of the greatest leaders of our time. It is important that everyone knows the significance of Mandela as a leader.”

Mandela8 Ambassador Stephen Nze said: “Mandela8 was looking for an art commission as we have the Mandelas this year. There was a lot of discussion and we spoke to KIMC and thanked them for providing us with that canvas.

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“We came up with what you see, which is way beyond what we imagined. John sent in sketches and we were able to see what it was going to be, but until you actually see it, well, seeing is believing.”

“In a word: magnificent. From a Mandela8 point of view, we are ecstatic and thank John Culshaw for what he has done.

“It’s a milestone in our community and ‘education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world’ sums up the current climate we find ourselves in at this particular time. It’s that Madiba (Mandela’s African name) look, it’s like he’s looking at us and watching over us.”

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Mandela 8. (Image Andrew Teebay).

KIMC CEO Michelle Charters said: “KIMC is the legacy of the work of the Black Sisters of Liverpool, so it’s iconic that this is a living legacy of our work and Mandela is a legacy for all of us. I feel very honored that Mandela8 has asked us to host this.

“It has been fantastic to watch John work. The response has been amazing, not only from the local community, but people have come from far and wide asking and talking about it.

“Parents brought their children to see the work in progress and educate them on who he was. We’ve had South African men and women come and that has been very emotional as there were some tears when they actually saw it.”

John laughed and concluded, “Boxer, Tyson Fury is my most memorable piece, because of how surreal it was. I was starting a job at Golden Gloves and I got a phone call and it was Tyson Fury saying I’m opening my gym and I need it done in the next two days.

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“I told Wayne (Gold Gloves manager) that it’s Tyson Fury on the phone and I’m going to have to put down my tools and go see him. He laughed and said, ‘I’d do the same, go ahead, go ahead.'” and do that’, it was crazy”.

For information on John Culshaw and images of his work, visit Instagram: john_culshaw86