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~ South African Artist Des Khoury ~

South African Artist Des Khoury
South African artist and sculptor Des Khoury working in his studio.

Des Khoury was an internationally acclaimed South African artist, composer and sculptor. "My work is valueless to me if it does not help others," he said. Des produced a series of sculptures, some as a tribute to one of his greatest inspirations Nelson Mandela, to raise money for various local charities, including The Way to Happiness.

Self taught as a sculptor, Des epitomised everything that is inspiring about Africa and enjoyed remarkable success, noted primarily for the excitement and detail with which he endowed his works, as well as his uncanny eye for capturing the spirit of his subjects.

Before finding fame as a sculptor, Des was a successful composer, his work having been used in TV dramas, talk shows and much more. As a musician, Des toured with the Julian Laxton Band and then founded the highly-successful jazz-fusion group, Theta, in the late 1970s.

Using this fame, in 1995 Des sculpted a limited edition representation of the 1995 Rugby World Cup win, called "One Team One Nation". It depicts the captain of the rugby team, Francois Pienaar holding the Web Ellis cup. This sculpture was used for various charitable causes: for instance, SARFU endorsed and used one to support the very effective Narconon drug rehabilitation programme as well as the Rugby Development Fund.

Most famously, Des produced a trilogy of Nelson Mandela statues starting with ‘Madiba Magic’, inspired by South Africa’s peaceful transition to democracy. For Des this epochal event was the beginning of the realisation of a prediction by humanitarian and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard 30 years earlier, that "from Southern Africa will spring the next great civilization on this planet…" Proceeds of sales went to a number of charities.

"One Team One Nation"
Francois Pienaar Sculpture
Sculpture of Francois Pienaar holding the Web Ellis cup.
"Madiba Magic"
Nelson Mandela Statue Madiba Magic
Nelson Mandela Sculpture

The second was Des’ most treasured assignment, ‘Thunder in Africa’. This work commemorated the historic heavyweight championship fight between Lennox Lewis and Hasim Rahman at Carnival City in April 2001, and depicting Mandela as a young boxer. Des presented it to Lewis, Rahman and Mandela.

Rounding off the trilogy of Mandela pieces was a depiction of Mandela as a Warrior for Peace alongside arguably the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali.

Des sadly passed away on 9 September 2010 at the age of 60 due to a terminal physical condition. He handed over the running of his studio to his wife Kareen. He has spent his life working directly and indirectly through his art, on humanitarian projects. It has always been his wish to create a vehicle to channel his life’s work towards good causes.

For more information about South African artist Des Khoury and his works, please  contact Kareen Khoury.

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