Skip to content

Mandela! Struggle and Triumph


South African Family Traveling on a Train by David Turnley

Mandela! Struggle and Triumph, will be on display at Paul Paletti Gallery Sept. 5 – December 30, with a reception held October 25, 2013 from 5 – 8 p.m.

A special reception to honor the life of Nelson Mandela will be held on Thursday, December 12, 2013 from 5-7:30pm.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist David Turnley spent a quarter-century documenting the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa, and chronicling the life and times of Nelson Mandela, the world’s most important civil rights leader. Mandela! Struggle and Triumph is a brief look into Turnley’s archives of Nelson Mandela and the country that held him as a political prisoner for 27 years, before electing him president in that nation’s first fully representative, multiracial election in 1994.

“In the course of my work in South Africa, I was arrested more than a dozen times, simply for doing my job. Like so many others who operated in and around the anti-apartheid movement, I worked under the assumption that I was being monitored and came to expect harassment and intimidation,” says Turnley.

As the first black South African to hold the office of president, Mandela’s government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalized racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Turnley’s personal relationship with Mandela, as a family friend for over 30 years, is apparent in the intimate nature of these photographs, capturing both exceptional and ordinary moments.

“David’s images of South Africa before and during Mandela’s release – and those taken through the years of his presidency – are an important part of history. They tell the true story of the human condition and the desire for freedom from oppression and racism that continues today,” says Paul Paletti. “We are honored to host this exhibit. In his remarkable chronicle spanning three decades, David has photographed Mandela and the struggle against apartheid as much as any photographer in the world. There are many heroes in the global civil rights movement, but Mandela’s story is one that will be remembered for generations.”

Mandela! Struggle and Triumph will be open as part of the First Friday Trolley Hop on September 6, 2013, from 5-9pm. A special reception for David Turnley will be held on Friday, October 25, 2013 from 5-8pm, as a featured event of the Louisville Photo Biennial.

About David Turnley
A native of Indiana, David and his twin brother, Peter, began to photograph the inner city of Ft. Wayne as teenagers and came realize the power of photography. Through the camera, David actively seeks to engage with the diversity of people and cultures, bridging divides and creating understanding among people around the world. Both brothers went on to careers as globally respected and renowned photojournalists.

Turnley earned a bachelor’s degree in French Literature from the University of Michigan, where he is now an associate professor, and studied filmmaking at Harvard on a Nieman Fellowship. He holds honorary doctorates from the New School in New York and the University of St. Francis in Indiana. Turnley has photographed in 75 countries and received the Pulitzer Prize for his 1989 coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall and Tiananmen Square. He was a runner-up for the Pulitzer four other times.

In addition, Turnley is a two-time winner of the World Press Picture of the Year, four Overseas Press Club Awards, and the Robert Capa Award for Courage. His award-winning films include Emmy-nominated “The Dalai Lama: At Home and in Exile” (2001 Cine Golden Eagle winner), and “La Tropical” (Best Documentary at the Miami International Film Festival).

Turnley has published eight books and directed and produced three feature-length documentaries. His latest book, Mandela! Struggle and Triumph, contains photographs and personal stories from his extensive years of photographing the evolution of South Africa and Nelson Mandela.