national Arts Festival Banner

Friday, September 9, 2022


(Above: “Father of the innocents”. Acrylic and sand on canvas by John Meyer)

The Hilton Arts Festival runs from September 23 to 25, 2022, at Hilton College in Hilton. The festival announces with great pride that it will present the internationally-acclaimed exhibition, Mandela: A Life’s Journey.

The inspirational life of Nelson Mandela forms the basis for an extraordinary collection that showcases the story of a deeply-beloved South African icon. Originally supported by The Mandela Foundation, John Meyer’s Mandela: A Life’s Journey will be exhibited at the Festival.

This great honour will be a first for KZN as the collection is back in the country, its world tour having been interrupted by Covid.

(Right: “Facing the Night” - Acrylic and sand on canvas by John Meyer)

The series is on loan from a private collection owned by Andrew Dunn. Each of the 16 pieces are works in acrylic and sand on canvas. Dunn commissioned the series from renowned South African artist, John Meyer, whom he considers to be one of South Africa’s greatest living artists. The series took three years to complete and the result was a heart-warming and descriptive look at Madiba’s life.

According to Dunn, “John is a living legend who has painted for the Queen of England, Paul Allen of Microsoft and many more world and business leaders. Thus, choosing him to help fulfil my dream of owning a collection based on the life of Nelson Mandela was an easy decision.”

For Meyer, Nelson Mandela’s rare and universal influence challenged him to raise his game and reach new levels artistically. Meyer explains of his work, “I want to explore the private world of people’s lives, the enigmatic unexplained and hidden emotions.”

Having met Mandela on several occasions, Meyer has always been struck by his saintliness and the fact that he has served as a rallying point for all the world’s dispossessed. He did, however, try to avoid politics in the series, aiming rather to capture Mandela’s humanity.

(Left: “Looking to the Future”. Acrylic and sand on canvas by John Meyer)

Mark Read of The Everard Read Gallery curated this exhibition originally and now brings it to Hilton. He has curated some of the most intellectually-stimulating exhibitions to be shown in contemporary South Africa. He comments, “We seek to hold exhibitions that cause people to think about our wonderful country, to question its past and ponder about the future that lies ahead.”

For him, the showing of this collection was a great honour: “This very tantalizing brief showing of 16 miraculous paintings is the story of our continent’s greatest human icon painted by the best realist of his generation. What gallery wouldn’t be proud to show that?”


Festival Entry Fee:

Please note that there is an entrance fee of R100 per vehicle which is valid for all three days. You will be given a ticket on entry which you will need to take to Info or BoxOffice (both clearly marked). When you have paid you will be given an exit pass, valid for the duration. This income will assist cover the costs of Festival infrastructure


For more information, click on the Hilton Arts Festival logo to the right of this article which will link you to the festival website.