Nelson Mandela Graffiti Made By Ink-Stamped Boxing Gloves [Video]

Street art in Shanghai pays tribute to one of South Africa's greatest revolutionaries buy repeatedly punching a wall.

Ross Brooks
Ross Brooks on July 12, 2013. @greenidealism

A Shanghai-based artist has paid tribute to Nelson Mandela in a very unique way – involving a boxing glove, the Chinese characters for freedom (自由) and a black cinnabar paste which carries significance in Taoist culture.

The boxing glove used by Phil Akashi was imprinted with the Chinese characters for freedom and used to punch a wall located in Shanghai’s graffiti park 27,000 times. The end result was a portrait of Nelson Mandela that is surrounded by other pieces of art from local street artists.


Akashi chose cinnabar because is normally regarded as the color of life and eternity in Taoism, when used in the traditional red. His choice of black cinnabar paste represents mandela’s struggle against apartheid.

See the painstaking effort require for the portrait to take shape in this video:

Phil Akashi

TOPICS: Arts & Culture
Ross Brooks

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Ross is a freelance writer who specializes in topics about the environment, architecture, art, design and creative tech. He is passionate about making a difference with his writing, whether that’s to encourage social change, promote a great idea, or just share a little bit of beauty with the world. You can also find his work on Inhabitat and