Mandela's images of Robben Island fetch record prices

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The Independent Online

Artwork by the former South African president Nelson Mandela, recalling his years of imprisonment on Robben Island, is selling in galleries for record prices.

Artwork by the former South African president Nelson Mandela, recalling his years of imprisonment on Robben Island, is selling in galleries for record prices.

While many of the pieces started off at £2,000 a year ago, they are now fetching more than £8,000. To own a full set of the second series, known as Series II, which consists of 15 lithographs, you will need to fork out £35,000.

"People buy these pieces of artwork for different reasons; most, however, buy it from the heart because of all that Mandela stands for. It's not about an investment buy," said Louis van der Linde, a South African gallery owner.

The Robben Island series is a collection of sketches made by Mr Mandela between March and June 2002. They were launched internationally in February last year. The aim of the series is to depict Mandela's personal vision of Robben Island and share it with the world. The money raised goes to charities chosen by Mr Mandela, including the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.

The Robben Island series is split into two. Each consists of limited editions of colour lithographs which are numbered and personally signed by Mr Mandela. Also included in the collection are written pieces by Mr Mandela as well as photographs taken by Grant Warren. Ross Calder, managing director of the Touch of Mandela project, said that most pieces of Series I have been sold and Series II is quickly following suit. Most of the buyers are foreign. Celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and David Beckham have spent millions of rand on Mr Mandela's artistic work, Mr Calder said.

The artwork can be viewed and bought at galleries in London and Sydney as well as in South Africa.

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