Throughout history, there have been inspirational leaders that have meant different things to different people. Quite often, they have changed a nation and created a legacy for their country, ideologies of change and a sense of purpose for the people.
Some of these leaders are rare, and have become heroes to their nation. When you think of Abraham Lincoln; John F Kennedy; Dr Martin Luther King Jr.; Mahatma Gandhi; Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama – they have become symbols of hope and largely recognised as international icons.
This may be the reason why artist Jonathan Brews decided to include these icons in a painting that he created in 2009. The painting, called ‘Brotherhood of Hope’, was recently donated to Strate by John Pickering, an IT Consultant from Incentage.
To the artist’s surprise, he said in a note, “The painting had been completed almost five years prior to the death of Nelson Mandela. It was inconceivable at the time that the last living person in my painting would be delivering the eulogy at the passing of the 2nd last living member of the group. As the youngest member in the group, and given President Obama’s deep respect for Madiba, it was in a way a personal triumph insofar that these two global icons should have inadvertently come together on the global stage, in my backyard so to speak.”
Brews chose the seven subjects of this painting for reasons that were recorded in the commentary he wrote regarding the painting and its philosophy. At the time of its completion President Obama had just been inaugurated, and along with Nelson Mandela, they were the only two living subjects contained in the painting.
“In the most moving and powerful obituary, President Obama paid tribute to Nelson Mandela at the memorial service held in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was even more surprising that contained in his eulogy, in comparing the magnificent life of Nelson Mandela, he drew example from other revered leaders form history.
Incredibly, President Obama’s speech made reference to: President Abraham Lincoln; President John F Kennedy; Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and, Mahatma Gandhi,” added Brews.
He explained how he was watching one of the seven great people contained in his painting, eulogising the only other living person in the painting at the time of its completion. “And in the first three minutes and forty-five seconds of his speech President Obama drew direct reference to four other of the extraordinary men assembled in this work of art.”
Below is an image of the painting that can be viewed at Strate’s offices.