Raptors’ Ujiri launches new art installation inspired by Nelson Mandela

3 September 2021 / by Daniel Centeno
People in front of a large art piece.

Toronto Raptors president and vice-chair Masai Ujiri unveiled a Nelson Mandela-inspired art installation outside Union Station on Sept.1.

The installation illuminates 35 words that reflect what humanity means to Ujiri, according to the movement’s website.

Its structural aspects include an eight-foot-high seamless circle under the Humanity symbol.

As more efforts continue to confront racism with calls for social justice, the installation aims to continue this momentum and engage in conversation about what a kinder world looks like, Ujiri says.

The installation is part of Ujiri’s Humanity Movement, which was launched last year and is inspired by Mandela and his vision for equality.

Ujiri describes the movement as “inspired by Nelson Mandela’s fight for equality for all people. Keeping alive his words and actions inspired us to search for and embrace and the very things that make us human, and to overcome injustice and hatred. His example was an inspiration then, and it continues to be an inspiration especially now.”

The installation was created to represent “hope for the day when we see each other, really see, [and] the way we did when we first opened our eyes, nothing in the way, no bias, one people,” Ujiri writes on the website.

Ujiri, along with Toronto Mayor John Tory, Maple Leaf Sport and Entertainment CEO Larry Tanenbaum and city councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam presented the installation.

Ujiri signed a multi-year extension on August 5. With his pre-existing role as president, he became vice-chairman of the Raptors as well.

During his speech, he emphasized his dedication to Toronto and why he decided to stay and make the art installation in the city’s downtown core, mentioning diversity and Canada’s commitment to multiculturalism.

Ujiri is also the co-founder of the Giants of Africa program that started in 2003. The program is dedicated to using basketball as a means towards educating and enriching the lives of African youth, according to its website.

The Toronto Raptors will begin their regular season on Oct.20 against the Washington Wizards. This will be the Raptors’ first home game in Toronto since Feb.28, 2020. The Raptors previously played their homes games in Tampa Bay, Florida due to travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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