The fence surrounding Robben Island has always been a symbol of imprisonment but for some the fence was just an obstacle that needed to be overcome to realise a dream. When the prison was closed down the rusted fence, which would have been destined for the scrap heap, took on new significance as a powerful and historical symbol of resilience. When you look at the fence, do you see an obstacle, or do you see the possibilities beyond?
Chris Swift, an artist, rescued the fence and has turned pieces into artworks which are individually numbered, framed with a signed portrait of Nelson Mandela and a certificate of authenticity. A percentage of the proceeds of sales will go to Lawyers Against Abuse, an NGO that ensures that the justice system works for victimes of gender-based violence. Each piece of this unusual art will be unique to the owner based on the obstacles they have overcome, or the possibilities beyond the fence that they see.
I am really proud to be involved in the Robben Island Fence campaign which kicks off with the launch event later today. Browsing the fence art on display will allow us to celebrate the obstacles we have overcome, as well as celebrate the obstacles others have persevered through. Other art being showcased includes portraits by Marc Alexander, other works by Chris, and six awesome lipstick paintings by Sarah Britten.
I encourage you to follow Twitter’s #beyondthefence and tweet about the obstacles you’ve overcome.
If you’re interested in purchasing a piece of the Robben Island Fence, go to this website for more information. If you want to read more on the story of Sarah’s lipstick paintings inspired by the fence, go here or follow @beyond_thefence.