Anglican archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu‚ freshly released from his own sickbed‚ will on Friday attend the unveiling of a painting dedicated to a teenage cerebral palsy sufferer.
The unveiling of a “pietà of love” – meaning an artwork depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus – is in honour of Artscape CEO Marlene le Roux’s son Adam‚ commemorating the one-year anniversary of his death.
The event will take place at Groote Schuur Hospital’s department of surgery on Friday afternoon‚ said the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town.
The painting is by Le Roux’s friend Manfred Zylla. It depicts Adam lying on the lap of his mother.
Le Roux said: “Adam was my angel. He lived a purposeful life‚ a life of peace‚ healing‚ and all this without uttering a single word. He had a way of connecting with people when he was in a room‚ his spirit was clearly felt. He was a glorious gift.”
The Artscape Theatre said Adam died on August 25 2017‚ shortly before his sixteenth birthday‚ in the final grips of cerebral palsy. “He experienced life and love‚ sensed meaning with his brittle bones and tired tendons.”
The artist‚ Zylla‚ “loved Adam‚ and throughout the years he maintained a friendship with Adam” and the family‚ said Artscape.
The artwork will remain at the hospital on a permanent loan basis.
Tutu was discharged from hospital in mid-October after receiving treatment for an unspecified illness. He spent his 87th birthday in hospital but was discharged in time to celebrate his wife Leah’s birthday.