20 February 2015

21 Icons Portrait of a Nation Charity Auction

21 Icons: Bid for charity                    View the Catalogue

Tshwane 28 February 2015 – The much anticipated 21 ICONS South Africa Charity Auction and Gala Dinner was hosted by the City of Tshwane and raised funds for charities nominated by each of the icons. Celebrating the achievements of remarkable South Africans the 21 Icons event was inspired by individuals who have devoted their lives to helping mankind.

For the first time, under one roof, this historic occasion saw Icons who were part of the 21 Icons project come together for a charitable cause and donate the proceeds from the fine art portraits to their own chosen charities. It was the largest photographic portrait portfolio representing a cross-section of our country’s iconic personalities by a single artist to be auctioned for charity within South Africa.

Amongst the esteemed guests including the auction host, executive mayor of Tshwane, Cllr Kgosientso Ramokgopa, representatives from the Department of Arts and Culture, celebrities and well-known media personalities, the gathering of icons included: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, George Bizos, Kumi Naidoo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, John Kani; Lilian Cingo, Peter Magubane and Helen Sebedi.

21 Icons is a visual celebration of the lives of men and women who have shaped the world around them for the better. Inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela, it tells the stories of people who have continued his legacy – whose lives have made the world a better place. The project seeks to celebrate those who have achieved success and widespread recognition, as well as individuals whose work has been conducted without prior acclaim.

A unique concept, the project combines fine-art portraits, short films, behind the scenes photography, written narrative and a feature length documentary. The intention is to capture in an immersive manner the lives of the people it features.

The 21 Icons are South Africans who have been catalysts in shaping our nation’s and the global landscape, whether in a socio-political, environmental or artistic sense. Behind each portrait lies a carefully planned concept that captures not only the essence of each icon visually, but also in spirit and in terms of their unique legacy.

“Launching the 21 Icons project with a portrait of Nelson Mandela captures the essence of the campaign,” said Steirn, “Inspired by Madiba, it is a tribute to our great champions.”

The last photographic fine art portrait of Nelson Mandela ‘A Reflection of Dignity’, which was shot by Steirn for the project, was sold for a record R2 million in December 2013 and donated to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

The auction is the tangible aspect of the project which intends to provide financial aid to important causes for the betterment of our country and to make a sustainable difference in South African society. All revenue generated through the auction will be donated to the icons’ chosen charities

Stephan Welz & Co is proud to be the auctioneers of such a distinguished charity auction. Sophie-Louise Fröhlich at Stephan Welz & Co said: “21 Icons is a great project that exemplifies dedication and commitment to making a difference in people’s lives. Steirn’s youthfulness, unique style, innovation and passion shine through and it is in Stephan Welz & Co’s interest to introduce, support  and establish photographers like Steirn in the South African market.”

She adds: “This auction is a chance to showcase photography as an important medium, art form and investment in South Africa, a country where not much emphasis and importance is yet placed on photography, which needs to be grown and nurtured.”

The City of Tshwane is one of the sponsors of the project and charity auction and promotes, supports, develops and protects the arts, culture and heritage of South Africa.

This project is an ideal fit for the City of Tshwane and its aim to increase innovative and sustainable arts, culture and heritage projects that make a meaningful contribution to society and to promote social cohesion, nation building and national healing.

“Indeed we deserve to celebrate those who led us and inspired our diverse contributions to the building of a united and democratic South Africa. The people of Tshwane welcome 21 Icons to the birthplace of our democracy and the project is undoubtedly one of the most innovative initiatives on the palette of our nation-building and social cohesion storybooks,”commentsExecutive Mayor of Tshwane Kgosientso Ramokgopa.

He adds: “To our bidders, the priceless pieces of South Africa history and history-making are worth it, and we urge you to support through your corporate conscience and contribute to the 21 Icons project. This will ensure that those in need benefit from our benevolence, and more importantly so that we can continue to tell the stories of our trials, triumphs and tribulations.”

The portraits of the icons and their props include: Ahmed Kathrada; Desmond Tutu; Evelina Tshabalala; FW de Klerk; Gary Player; Gcina Mhlophe; George Bizos; Helen Sebidi; Hugh Masekela; John Kani; Johnny Clegg; Karel Benadie; Kumi Naidoo; Lillian Cingo; Nadine Gordimer; Phillip Tobias; Sophia Williams De Bruyn; William Kentridge; Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Zackie Achmat.

Among the charities that will receive donations are: The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Positive Heroes, The FW de Klerk Foundation, The Gary Player Foundation, The Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust, The South African Hellenic Educational and Technical Institute (Saheti), The Market Theatre Foundation, The StarFish Foundation, Greenpeace Africa, Food & Trees for Africa, Phelophepa I and II Trains, Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, The Sophia de Bruyn and Henry Benny Nato de Bruyn Legacy Foundation, Friends of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, The Princess of Africa Foundation and The Social Justice Coalition.