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Nelson Mandela Memorial


Project Name

Nelson Mandela Memorial


Sky Lawn Memorial Park

Project Status

Concept Proposal

Year Completed



2 sq. feet





  • Colin Montoute



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Project Description

The goal of this competition proposal is to consider the life of Nelson Mandela in all its complexity. The proposal hopes to give form to the contradictions inherent in any life and one in particular that has transformed the world, as we now know it. Nelson Mandela has been known by many names throughout his life. Each name defining stages of his transformation, the connections he has created and the people he has influenced. The branches are meant to symbolize the varied and diverse nature of his influence, the many people that he has influenced and the somewhat random and varied ways in which that influence comes together to make a whole. There are 6 polished bronze trees each with one of his names on each trunk. His various names are different parts of who he is and make the whole of the man. Life is made through stages and each stage of Mandela's life is symbolized by one of his names. Each of Mandela’s names and stages of his life can be defined by one of his many quotes. These quotes are to be cast in to the granite near the bronze tree that bears one of his names. One quote is meant capture Mandela the warrior and the other a man of peace. The memorial takes the form of an earthwork imposed on a 30' x 30' Cylinder. The earth appears to rise to define a space within which literal and phenomenal reflection upon Nelson Mandela’s life may occur. The memorial is in two halves symbolizing the duality of his personal struggle, his message and who he was as a man within a complex world. Each face of the cleft earth is clad with mirror polished granite with text symbolizing this duality. The mirror polished stone captures the sky the branches of the tree and the people who stare in to seeming void.
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