TABOO

Dead Mandela

In South Africa, where the painting is located, the African National Congress decried the depiction of the revered peace leader. The artist, Yiull Damaso, denied any intentional offense, telling press that “Nelson Mandela is a great man, but he’s just a man… The eventual passing of Mr. Mandela is something that we will have to face, as individuals, as a nation.” Damaso was apparently attempting a spin on Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp.” In Damaso’s version, Desmond Tutu and other luminaries are depicted as the attending physician’s at Mandela’s deathbed.