Twenty Years Ago (2010)

Twenty Years Ago image

Medium: Light sculpture using floodlights, scaffolding and the original Robben Island prison fencing

At a time when the whole world’s attention is focussed on South Africa as the first African nation to host the Fifa World Cup, it is easy to forget that none of this could have been possible without one incredible man. The legacy that Nelson Mandela has endured and created is inspiring, infectious and a model to all the worlds citizens.

Artist Christopher Swift thought it poignant to highlight the real significance of this unprecedented year by signifying the 20th year anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, signifying the beginning of the end of Apartheid and the road to a democratic and free nation which he was to become the first president of 4 years later.

Artist’s statement: “This installation is a tribute to the construction of this great nation and the sacrifices made to get us there, as well as the destruction that almost destroyed it. It is a reminder of our past, lest we forget and it is an indicator of our future when seen at night. Not only because the fencing was rescued from a landfill, but because the rusty installation stands its proudest in the spot light against the darkest nights.”

The Artist is currently trying to arrange a twin installation in Berlin to link the two Nations in their dual 20th year celebrations – In Germany’s case, the re-unification of East & West.

Memoriabelia of the Robben Island fencing and the full story of its aquiring by the artist are available at