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Key objects announced for world premiere Nelson Mandela exhibition at Melbourne Museum

Key objects announced for world premiere Nelson Mandela exhibition at Melbourne Museum
July 18, 2018

The Melbourne Museum is to host the world premiere of an exhibition charting the life and times of former South African President Nelson Mandela, with key objects that will be displayed announced today.

Produced by iEC Exhibitions, TEG Live and Museums Victoria, in full collaboration with The Nelson Mandela Foundation of South Africa, Mandela My Life: The Official Exhibition will be held at the Melbourne Museum from Saturday 22nd September 2018.

The exhibition will open in Australia before commencing a five-year worldwide museum tour from 2019.

Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth today, the producers of the Exhibition have announce the first of many original objects to be featured, with a rich collection of artifacts, documents and personal items expertly curated to share the story of Mandela’s rich and colourful life.

Nelson Mandela in 1962 Copyright University of Dundee/The Peto Collection.

Some of the confirmed original objects that will feature in Mandela My Life: The Official Exhibition include the boxing glove signed and gifted by Muhammad Ali to Mandela, who was an avid boxing fan and met Ali several times after 1990. The shoes and walking cane used by Mandela in his senior years will be among the key objects to feature in the exhibition as well as some of his favourite ‘Madiba shirts’ that brightened the corridors of power.

The Pass Laws Act of 1952 required all black South Africans over the age of 16 to carry a passbook and was brutally enforced as part of the apartheid regime until it’s abolition in 1986. In 1960, Nelson Mandela burnt his passbook following the massacre of anti-passbook protesters at Sharpeville. An original and rare passbook that belonged to a young man and was signed by Nelson Mandela will be on display at the exhibition. This is an extremely rare object as few people cared to hold on to their passbooks once the pass laws had been abolished.

The exhibition will also feature a deep and rich archive of images, film and sound recordings including film footage of what is believed to be the earliest film of Nelson Mandela being interviewed during a break in the ‘Treason Trial’ of 1956-1961. Mandela was one of 156 defendants, along with members of all other anti-apartheid movements, in a trial that was designed to dismantle the People’s Congress Alliance and attack the Freedom Charter.

Nelson Mandela meets with Muhammad. 

Providing a rare and touching glimpse into the personal life of Nelson Mandela, this official Mandela exhibition has been curated into ten galleries in the Touring Hall at Melbourne Museum and explores his difficult and sometimes controversial life fighting for equality and democracy.

Expertly curated by a team of Museums Victoria staff and headed by iEC Exhibitions’ Samantha Heywood, the exhibition will feature personal artefacts and documents, many of which have never-before left South Africa, offering an insight into the world that shaped Mandela’s journey from the rural Transkei to the political world stage.

The 80 metre² exhibition will include outstanding artworks, original artefacts and genuine replications of rare content from the Nelson Mandela archives, including manuscripts from his writings in prison, taking visitors through a multi-sensory, interactive, educational and emotive journey of Mandela’s 95 years of life.

Boxing Glove presented to Nelson Mandela by Muhammad. Courtesty of Ali Jon Augier/Museums Victoria.

Introducing the Exhibition, Tony Cochrane, the Founding Director of iEC Exhibitions, said it will be the first time many of these objects have been displayed publicly.

Cochrane advised “many of these objects are from Nelson Mandela’s private collection and as such have never been publicly displayed or left South Africa.

“I would like to thank the Nelson Mandela Foundation for their role in assisting us with access to so many rare and original objects so that we can share Nelson Mandela’s inspiring story with the world.”

Nelson Mandela's 'Madiba Shirt' will feature in the Exhibition.

Samantha Heywood, iEC Exhibitions’ Project Director and Lead Curator added “this exhibition will bring together objects sourced from the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa and a private collection. Together, they provide a unique insight into Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary life.”

TEG Chief Executive Geoff Jones said Mandela My Life: The Official Exhibition will be a rare opportunity for Australians to immerse themselves in events that have shaped societies around the world, concluding ““Nelson Mandela, both as a man and the leader of a mission, has left an indelible mark on humanity. This exhibition will resonate with Mandela’s heroic struggle and historic achievements. TEG is honoured to be a part of this work.”

After exclusively opening in Melbourne, Mandela My Life: The Official Exhibition will visit up to 20 international cities and will be viewed by an estimated 2.7 million visitors over five years.

It will be staged at the Melbourne Museum until 3rd March 2019. 

Images courtesy of iEC Exhibitions, TEG Live and Museums Victoria.

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19th December 2015 - MELBOURNE MUSEUM TO HOST WORLD PREMIERE OF ‘JURASSIC WORLD: THE EXHIBITION’ 

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