It turns out that I was right in the first place and Ayanda Mabulu's painting (Better Poor Than a Rich Puppet) below does in fact portray Zuma with his penis in a crutch. This fact was just brought to my attention by Ayesha who wrote:
It IS JZ in Ayanda's painting. See interview with artist here: http://worldart.co.za/uploads/media/CT%20review8Nov2010.pdf and http://worldart.co.za/news/Thank you ever so kindly Ayesha for the correction and restoring my faith in my initial thinking/reaction. I owe you big time :0)
Worldart says that Ayanda Mubulu portrayed Zuma's penis in a crutch as "a metaphor for the perception that Zuma's sexual escapades are out of control; the crutch implying he needs help to overcome the issue."
I will leave the incorrect Update below intact (but crossed out) to show the uncertainty that has accompanied the interpretation of Mubulu's painting and depiction of Zuma.
But as it stands now my original post was right after all (thanks again Ayesha!)
As of this writing this post has garnered 4796 reads/hits and my intention to question the timing and context of the ANC's tirade against Murray stands even stronger now.
Why has the ANC selectively decided to go after Murray when other artists like Mabulu have depicted his penis (way back in 2010 too)?
Does the ANC see a tangible policy (even perhaps constitutional) difference between a white and black African artist depicting Zuma's penis in a painting?
On the question of respect and Tutu as an African elder it instructive to note what Mabulu said according to Worldart:
"Mabulu also explained that Bishop Tutu's tied up penis refers to a process during the Xhosa male initiation ritual where the penis is covered to speed up the removal of the foreskin. Traditionally a sign of strength and power in his culture, the penis here is portrayed as weakened, incapacitated and 'colonised' by Western values – in pain just like during initiation.I think his thinking here just about sinks anything the ANC may want to argue on Thursday.
Asked whether he intended to offend, Mabulu said that he was merely painting his perception of the roles that the state and the church play in a poverty stricken environment. He added that if it offended anyone, it was probably necessary for them to look at reasons why they felt this way. Asked whether painting a political and church leader naked was disrespectful, he said these figures are disrespectful of him and his people: they can't expect respect if they don't respect the people they lead."
"While I agree with your sentiment, the Ayanda Mabulu picture in question "Better poor than a rich puppet" does not refer to Zuma at all. The person in the portrait with his penis in a crutch is actually Brigadier Oupa Gqozo from Bisho who Ayanda tends to depict as a dog with a human face. Just so you know..."
*****By now you probably have heard all about the ANC's attempt to stifle artist Brett Murray's controversial portrait of President Jacob Zuma entitled "Spear of the Nation" currently being exhibited at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.
Here it is up close:
According to a news report the ANC's lawyers have "launched an urgent court application to try and stop the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg and the City Press newspaper from displaying a painting of President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed."
If you wondering why all the fuss about such a portrait in a supposedly free and democratic country maybe you can join me for a quick walk here and wonder a little more.
Why is the ANC making such a fuss about Murray's portrait yet if memory serves me almost nothing was said about Ayanda Mabulu's 2010 exhibition entitled "Un-Mute My Tongue"?
Could it be that in Mabulu's painting Zuma's penis is not totally exposed but mostly obscured by being injured/handicapped in plaster with a crutch?
See for yourself:
"Better PoorThan a Rich Puppet"
And, in this portrait Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is fully exposed yet you heard hardly a peep from the good Arch about his dignity being degraded (it's a work of art stupid and intended to be provocative).
This morning it occurred to me that if David came back as an ANC member he could perhaps sue Michaelangelo for his world famous sculpture in 1504 that rendered his penis cast in stone forever.
I expect though that many comrades who are pissed may point out that Michaelangelo was a master of his craft and rendered a very becoming image of David.
But who is to say that Murray has not done the same?
Nonetheless, it seems only 'fair' that the ANC sue Ayanda Mabulu for depicting President Zuma's penis too.
I need some Tylenol.
Murray Image Credit
Mabulu Image Credit