Marc Alexander

Marc Alexander is one of South Africa's premier artists. To create this piece Marc worked with fellow South African artist, Chris Swift, who uses discarded materials to create artwork.

In this piece, themes of collaboration, imagination and seeing the importance in the everyday are key. While Chris was finishing his final year at the University of Cape Town Michaelis School of Fine Art his continuous search for discarded materials brought him to Robben Island where he discovered piles of wooden fencing that was being discarded. He enquired about the origin of the fencing and learned that it was the original fence which surrounded the prison. It had been replaced with new fencing as part of the improvements for the 20th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela. Chris immediately recognised the significance of the fencing and was able to aquire it. He arranged to have the fencing pieces brought to the mainland and stored on a friend's farm in Stellenbosch. He has personally selected, and sealed, each piece of fence that is available through this project.

The art pieces he created using the fencing would later win him the Michaelis Prize and position him as the top student of the year. Later he would also win the Spier Contemporary Art Prize in 2010.

It was Chris' desire that the fence would come full circle, from holding captive the champions of liberty and democracy such as Nelson Mandela, to freeing ordinary people from the prison of poverty. This was his vision, so he formed RIACT to make that vision a reality. RIACT is now responsible for the fence and creates artifacts from it for sale.

Each piece includes a print of Marc Alexander's Nelson Mandela sketch.