On 26 September 2018, Disney Africa, in association with Art Eye Gallery, launched the Mickey the True Original Art Collaboration where ten six-foot Mickey Statues where unveiled, each brought to life by ten highly talented SA artists.

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Each statue has been designed, painted and crafted to show each artist’s unique take on Mickey Mouse, who is celebrating his 90th anniversary this year. From vivid colour palettes, spray paint graffiti stylings, to pantsula outfits and shweshwe prints, each interpretation is a celebration of the global icon in a truly proudly South African way.

SA Artists

The ten SA artists include Cassius Khumalo, Colbert Mashile, Dominic Tshabangu, Lee Scott Hempson, Louis van den Heever, Nika Mtwana, Phumzile Buthelezi, Toni Bico, Trevor Coleman and Welcome Danca. Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa says:

“For nine decades, Mickey Mouse has bound generations together more than any other animated character. His iconic status and global appeal has also inspired countless artists over the decades The Mickey the True Original Art Collaboration continues this inspiration, but with a truly South African interpretation of Mickey’s charm and universal appeal.”

Ty Selmon, Director of Art Eye Gallery elaborates:

“No matter what age, every person has a connection with Mickey Mouse and, when Disney approached Art Eye to collaborate on this venture, we were thrilled to be given the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Damien Hirst, Diego Rivera and so many more who were inspired by this character. To give this unique local take on Mickey allows us to give him an honorary South African status, bringing to life the unique and eye-catching interpretation, sights and imagery that only this country can produce.”

Fans will be able to see the statues from the SA artists in real life as they travel the country as part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition created by the SA artists will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

The Mickey The True Original campaign includes a series of global festivities honouring nine decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.  In South Africa, a number of initiatives are underway to join these celebrations including the exhibition of SA artists, a two-hour star-studded special to air on M-Net 101 later in the year, amazing retail activations and more.

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their own Mickey Mouse moments, inspirations and more on social media using the hashtag #Mickey90Africa.