South Africa-born East Lancashire man's tribute to Nelson Mandela

This Is Lancashire: Richard Pratt's painting of Nelson Mandela Richard Pratt's painting of Nelson Mandela

AN artist born in South Africa and brought up in East Lancashire is auctioning a new work, painted in memory of Nelson Mandela for the politician’s children’s charity.

Richard Pratt was born in Johannesburg – shortly after apartheid was abolished – but his family returned to the UK in 2002, when he was nine.

In February, Richard returned to South Africa to live with his father in Cape Town, working as an artist, taking commissions and selling at the Root 44 artisan market near Stellenbosch.

He started the oil painting Madiba, after Mandela’s tribal name, last Friday, just hours after the statesman’s death. Richard, who lived in Great Harwood and Newchurch-in-Pendle, continued working on the piece at Saturday’s market, and completed it on Sunday.

Similar sized works by the former St Augustine’s RC High School, Billington, and St Mary’s College, Blackburn, student, sell for 1,500 to 3,000 Rand – up to £200.

Richard said: “At the market on Saturday, I had so many offers for it, and it wasn’t even finished. It was crazy and I wasn’t expecting it.

“I’m hesitant to put a price on this work, but would like to see it raise R5,000 given the circumstances and the cause.”

Richard, who describes his work as ‘traditional with a contemporary twist’, says living in both South Africa and the UK has helped him understand Mandela’s impact on the country.

He said: “As a child, I didn’t really understand what was really going on, but I can say now – after 11 years in the UK – Nelson Mandela was probably one the greatest men to come out of South Africa.

“By living in the UK, a country that gives its people basic needs and amenities such as homes, healthcare and education, I can really appreciate the potential of what Mandela has given to South Africans.”

‘Madiba’ will be on sale from 9am today until 1pm on Thursday, at www.the-salesroom. com. Proceeds will go to Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. Visit www.mandela-children .org.uk.

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