About this artwork
From 1952 to 1994 Heroes Day celebrated the founding of the African National Congress’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK for short)—the “Spear of the Nation.” Thamsanqa Mnyele based his illustration on a photograph by Zenzo Nkobi. The delicate photostenciled image highlights the relationship between ordinary people and liberation fighters.
The textured and shaded ground that the figures stand upon emerged accidentally. Mnyele mistakenly used a lacquer-based paint while printing instead of a watercolor one. After multiple printings, the lacquer dissolved portions of the image on the printing screen, so that paint seeped through the screen in unexpected places. Mnyele liked the effects but did not want to risk losing the image, so he had the remaining posters commercially printed.
- Thamsanqa (Thami) Mnyele
- December 16 Heroes Day
- South Africa
- Lithograph in black and red on white wove paper
- 605 × 422 mm
- Gift of Artworkers Retirement Society