Artist Robbie Conal takes over Los Angeles honoring Mandela’s life and career thorough political art.
A couple of weeks after his passing, Nelson Mandela’s presence continues to make waves in the communities of Los Angeles to South Africa.
Madiba’s message for justice and equality lives on as street art laureate Robbie Conal brands Mandela’s face and words of wisdom to the walls of LA through Capetown.
His artwork on the late and great international leader of Nelson Mandela lives on in the city of Angels as well as Mandela’s hometown, South Africa
Last week, Culver City experienced an “art attack,” where Conal and his volunteers posted street art of Mandela at night.
According to the huffingtonpost.com, Conal gathered volunteers to place some of 6,000 posters of the hero across the city to Mandela’s homeland.
Conal brings a positive energy to the community that can be appreciated while celebrating the peace maker.
Creating two versions of the same art piece; one poster says "Dancing" and refers to what Conal called "the Madiba shuffle dance," which Mandela started doing regularly after he was released from his 27-year stint as a political prisoner, the laweekly.com reports.
Another poster says "Walking" and refers to Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, the Weekly reports.
Conal explains the significance behind the words, “Doing research, I tripped over the Madiba shuffle”, I can’t dance, but I have a dancer inside of me when I’m painting. “With Mandela I started going through South African music and it’s fantastic,” on how he connected with the former South African President.
Known as the Guerrilla Street Artist who uses political art to critique American government, Conal honors and celebrates iconic political leaders and Nelson Mandela is no exception to the rule.
He went about creating the Mandela posters like he had done in the pass with social and political figures Gandhi, Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King Jr. he recalls, “it occurred to me what if Gandhi and Dalai Lama was on the scene waiting for us to get hip somehow .” He probes at the idea of Martin Luther King and his dream in response to honoring men who fought for justice.
Conal creates adversarial portraits of such figures, acknowledging “I put large black and white portraits of Gandhi, Dalai Lama and King all over the country with defining words that illustrated each leader : watching, waiting and dreaming.”
It was this poster of the three icons that caught the eye of Tom Harding and Dorothy Garcia owner of nonprofit “Art Aids Art” organization based in Capetown that sponsors the distribution of posters to South Africa.
Viewing what Conal calls “large celebratory images of progressive leaders in non-violence and in change, Harding and Garcia asked him for a poster of Nelson Mandela.”
“4,800 copies of the posters are headed to South Africa's Capetown,” Conal told the Weekly.
Although he received praises for his work, he suffered backlash from his art on Mandela.
Despite the progress of this movement, the LAPD were not in favor of the Mandela poster takeover.
LAWeekly.com reports, “the LAPD showed up alongside Conal’s supporters, who were drawn by the social media, Cops warned them not to post the artwork. It’s considered Vandalism.”
“They had patrols watching for us,” Conal told the Weekly.
Conal who was unaffected by the issue of vandalism he continued to post.
He alludes to his artistic talent as unstoppable, stating, “but we know that once we got out into the great desert by the sea there’s no way they can keep up with us.”
Conal who has never been a fan of the LAPD, recalls the injustice of the1992 riots and Darryl Gates being the antagonist.
Using political art, he responded to the event with an image of a night stick on fire calling it “Disarm,” aiming it at LAPD and Gates, his artwork was praised by rapper Ice Cube, stating it was beautiful.
A fan of Madiba’s work, the street artists wrote on his twitter account days before his death stating, “It is Music and dance that make me at peace with the world and at peace with myself,” Conal quoting Mandela’s great words.
“My thoughts were to celebrate him, to be sure we can learn from him and that his passing doesn’t burry the lessons of his fantastic international statesmanship,” he states on Mandela’s passing.