Marc Alexander’s Aung San Suu Kyi from the Legacy series, Oil and Steel Wire Text on Board, 100cm by 100cm, (2012) – She is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. In the 1990 general election, the NLD won 59% of the national votes and 81% of the seats in Parliament. She had, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. She remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010, becoming one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners.
Legacy first opened at Art Afrique Gallery in Sandton City in March 2012. The guest speaker was the late Alf Kumalo – one of South Africa’s most famous photo journalists, who has taken many iconic photographs of the anti-apartheid struggle. This acclaimed portrait series was also exhibited by invitation at Artscape Theatre Centre in Cape Town, from October to December 2013.
My inspiration for this exhibition has been spurred on by the memory of the many years I spent as a pastor to the exiled and destitute in the inner-city of Pretoria. It was during this time, that I became acutely aware of the difficulties and injustices that some people faced on a daily basis and how the sacrifices of some can make all the difference.
Thus began my journey of producing this series of paintings which include altruistic heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Aung San Suu Kyi and Princess Diana to mention a few. Also amongst these greats are South African Nobel Peace Laureates; Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, FW De Klerk and Albert Luthuli. I believe that these humanitarians have made a significant contribution in improving the lives of the poor and oppressed.
I have also integrated quotations from each individual on the respective paintings with steel wire which I meticulously bent to frame each work. I feel that each quote fully encapsulates each individual’s passion. Furthermore, a short biography of each individual and their contribution to society is made available at every showcasing. Also included are unsung heroes such as the late AIDS activist Nkosi Johnson and missionary, Heidi Baker.
My hope is that this body of work will encourage the viewer to live more selflessly, protest injustices and take a stand for virtuous living. Truly, the choices we make in life will determine the kinds of legacies we leave behind.