New York, New York
In 2009, the United Nations designated each July 18 as Mandela Day. The Nelson Mandela Foundation wishes the day to be marked as a global call to action, urging people to recognize their power to change the world around them.
In its inaugural year, RAA was asked to produce an exhibition that would relay Mandela’s experiences as an anti-apartheid activist, political prisoner, and his eventual election as the country’s first black president – and would also promote key themes of global civic participation.
RAA’s response was to create a set of compelling interactive installations, to be installed within a space classified as the most heavily foot-trafficked corridor in the entire metropolis. Each installation was based on a giant back-lit “action word” that aimed to spur visitors to join specific civic and global causes. On the front of each word was a key message that reveals Mandela’s values and inspired visitors to act. The back of each word has detailed information about Nelson Mandela’s life, stories, and speeches.
“Listen” contains messages relating to his most powerful speeches; “Learn” presents Nelson Mandela’s biography; “Unite” recalls inspiring stories in which Mr. Mandela showed the importance of reconciliation; “Act” explains the work of the different foundations that Nelson Mandela founded; “Speak” asks visitors to speak up against injustice; and “Lead” allows visitors to write their pledge to help at a local cause of their choosing. As inspirational background, a large-scale film traced Mandela’s legacy though historical and contemporary footage and animated graphics.
The result was a successful “live” public experience that elevated other elements of the Mandela Foundation’s public-relations campaign, and culminated that year with a star-studded concert at Radio City Music Hall.
Size 12,000 square feet
Photography © Albert Vecerka/Esto