posted by Studio Phil Akashi on Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    Shanghai based artist Phil Akashi pays tribute to international hero Nelson Mandela. The artist attached a seal embedded with the Chinese characters ”自由” (meaning “freedom”) to a boxing glove, and imprinted a monumental portrait into a mural with 27,000 punches

    According to the artist: “This artwork exemplifies Nelson Mandela’s 27 years of incarceration but also symbolize his lifelong brave stand for freedom and equality. Nelson Mandela is an extraordinary artist of peace. He sacrificed his own freedom to fight for the freedom of others. He was prepared to die for his ideal of democracy, harmony and freedom and therefore he represents a fantastic source of inspiration for the entire world.” Phil Akashi


    Tribute to Mandela - Phil Akashi

    Mandela - Phil Akashi #the seal artist


    Phil Akashi used a boxing glove to add significance and power to his artwork. Nelson Mandela used to be a boxer and in his autobiography "A long walk to freedom" he mentioned he enjoyed boxing for the science and for the strategy of it not for the violence. Also he said boxing is egalitarian. On the ring, rank, age, color, wealth are irrelevant.

    The artist also chose to use Cinnabar paste for his significance in Taoist culture; red Cinnabar was regarded as the color of life and eternity. But he firmly decided to use black cinnabar paste to honor Mandela’s struggle against apartheid. This symbolic and powerful new painting resides in the Shanghai Graffiti Park, and is surrounded by a mix of graffiti made by local street artists. 


    Mandela - Phil Akashi 2 #the seal artist

    Tribute to Mandela - Phil Akashi


    Watch the video hereunder. In China, watch the video here. 



    PHIL AKASHI 涛程 is a Shanghai based artist from Belgium. Also known as the seal artist, he uses traditional East Asian seals as a core medium.


    "I am addicted to seals, I collect seals, I paint with seals, I love seals. Creating with East Asian seals as a medium is a wonderful opportunity to tribute and to sustain a very old tradition with passion, emotion and innovation. It is also an exciting way to uses the power of language with a trans-cultural approach." Phil Akashi


    Phil Akashi is working on several projects and painting series. You can also follow his work on Facebook  and Instagram


    Tribute to Mandela - Phil Akashi


    Tribute to Mandela - Phil Akashi


    This artwork has received international attention. More than 300 press articles have been released online & offline with several TV, Radio & web interviews. Please find a selection here.



    Download all the photos in high resolution here. (@philakashi credits)

    Nelson Mandela boxer - Phil Akashi