National Arts Council of South Africa (NAC) participated in the programme that celebrated the life and legacy of O.R Tambo during the month of October 2008. NAC donated a 2 x 3 beaded portrait to be placed at the O.R Tambo international Airport. This was a partnership project between the Eastern Cape Provincial Government and Ekurhuleni Municipality.
The artwork for the 2 x 3m portrait of Mr. Tambo was made by Frederick Shabalala, a visual artist from Mount Clair in Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) specializing in portraiture and landscape painting. NAC deemed it necessary to visit KZN to find out more on their milestones to completion of the stunning project.
The beadwork was created by 15 crafters from Umlazi also from KZN, spearheaded by Prof Phyllis Zungu who is also NAC’s Chairperson for craft discipline.
When the NAC delegation visited Umlazi, the crafters related how they were dedicated and focused as they burnt the midnight oil singing hymns to encourage themselves. To their amazement they managed to finish beading the 2 x 3 portrait in only two weeks.
The portrait was then framed in a deep dark brown box frame, with having the illusion of depth created by separating the glass and the image, framed by Alive Art Factory based in Wynberg.
The official handover to the O.R Tambo International Airport will be at the end of November 2008.