Michigan State University masthead
Top Navigation Museum Logo
about tes  |  available exhibits  |  upcoming schedule  |  funding resources  |  view exhibits online
conscience of the human spirit: the life of nelson mandela


Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |5 |6 | 7 back to Conscience of the Human Spirit: The Life of Nelson Mandela
Photo of Celebration of His Walk quilt  

Celebration of His Walk
Rose Mary Green
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Cotton batik, silk, canvas, beads, craft spoon with zebra head; machine appliquéd, machine free-motion quilted; hand sewn

This figure represents people dancing and rejoicing in celebration of Nelson Mandela's life. A life devoted to people of all colors working together for the betterment of mankind. The American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "I love you" shows people’s love for him.

Photo of A Queue For Democracy  

A Queue For Democracy
Sandra M. Hankins
Lake Elsinore, California, USA 
Ink printed; quilted

I intended this quilt to celebrate the life and legacy of the late Nelson "Madiba" Mandela. Along with Martin Luther King, Mandela is one of the heroes in our lifetime.

Photo of The Mighty Warrior quilt  

The Mighty Warrior
Peggie Hartwell
Summerville, South Carolina, USA; 2014
Cotton, textile pen and paint; machine appliquéd, machine quilted, painted

Mighty Warrior. The greatness of your strength was matched only by your devotion to peace and justice. Your journey was a courageous one. The world made note. Mighty Warrior, your vision refreshed the spirits of many. One day "justice and peace shall kiss" and the world again will make note. 

Photo of Freedom Day quilt  

Freedom Day
Mayota Willette Hill
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Buttons, colored door key ID ring caps, fringe, embroidery thread, beads, shredded brown paper, and parts of a previously made quilt; appliquéd and embroidered

Story quilts are those that tell stories that describe various experiences and aspects of people's lives and of notable events, by way of visual display. This quilt displays the eventful period that began on February 11, 1990, the day that Nelson Mandela was freed after serving 27 years of a lifetime prison sentence. Great joy, which this quilt represents, was experienced by his family and faithful followers who had awaited his freedom, a freedom a “long time coming”. Mandela's confinement was due to his undaunted activities that opposed apartheid in South Africa and his refusal to compromise his unselfish position.

Photo of 46664 quilt  

Marla A. Jackson with Kearston Mahoney, Sommer Ferguson, Tori Mitchell, Sylvan Mitchell, Teagan Harmon, Desiree Powell, Nia Rutledge, Bella Myers, and Breanna Bell
Lawrence, Kansas, USA
Cotton fabrics, bias tape, acrylic paint; trapunto, quilted, painted

This quilt was made as a project in the Beyond the Book program I founded. The program is designed to help students literally go beyond the book and develop a better understanding of history through art and quilt making. For the background of this quilt, students ice dyed cotton fabrics the colors of the South African flag. Mandela's face includes the colors red, black, green and yellow to represent the people of South Africa. The students chose to include a famous quote by Mandela "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall".

Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years at Robben Island, Victor Verster, and Pollsmoor prisons; while at Robben Island he worked breaking rocks. To represent this there are prison bars on the top of the quilt over rocks and includes Mandela's prison number 46664. The first three digits meant that he was the 466th prisoner, and the last two digits indicated the year, 1964, he went to prison. His cell number continues to remind people of his quest for freedom.

Photo of New York Welcomes Nelson Mandela quilt  

New York Welcomes Nelson Mandela
Jacqueline Johnson
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Cotton fabrics and batting; machine and hand appliquéd

Quilts are not just for keeping one warm, they are also for healing and bearing history both personal and communal. This quilt was made to commemorate an historical event as the label on the quilt reads:  "On June 20, 1990, shortly after they entered the United States, Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela came to Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn on their way to City Hall. They were accompanied by New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Harry Belafonte, and a host of local and national figures. This quilt is based on photographs from that historic day." I was happy I was able to locate the photographs as I wanted to use something that came from my own archive to make this quilt. Some of my impetus lay in the fact I knew very few quilters if any would have these particular photographs or point of reference. In my twenties I went to many "Free South Africa" events and fundraisers. I have been privileged to observe the birth of a new South Africa and to both witness and celebrate Nelson Mandela's legacy. 

Photo of Madiba's Range quilt  

Madiba's Range
Gloria Kellon
Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA
Cotton fabric, embroidery thread, commemorative fabric for Mandela; appliquéd, embroidered

Nelson Mandela was a selfless man who garnered world respect because of his determination for political freedom. There is no doubt that Nelson Mandela's journey to achieve his dream was long, dangerous, and unbelievably resourceful; it showed his desire, selflessness and intelligence. Much was sacrificed—a normal family life, good health, and, most important, his freedom. Out of his difficult journey, the feeling of ubuntu emerged. His endurance led to laws being changed and people uniting. Mandela lived to see his rising sun and a new South Africa. Mandela's life story is a model of ubuntu or looking out for all people in your life goals. His journey to achieving freedom should be told in as many ways possible so that the next generation will pattern their lives for success. Madiba's Range is one way to show the passion and the enduring commitment a man will pursue to right the wrongs around him.



Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |5 |6 | 7 back to Conscience of the Human Spirit: The Life of Nelson Mandela