Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Zuma Painting Defaced at Goodman Gallery

Carrin Pasley-Banks
May 22, 2012.

Johannesburg - The controversial painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed was defaced by two men at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

One suspect painted a red cross across Zuma's face and genitals while the younger man spread black paint across the artwork.

BBC correspondent Andrew Harding tweeted, "Zuma picture smeared with black paint. Man who did it tells me "picture was offensive." gallery guard assaults him. 2nd man arrested too."

A private security company was guarding the painting at the gallery when the incident happened.

The suspects were arrested and taken to Rosebank police station.

Cape Town artist Brett Murray earlier said his artwork was never meant to hurt anyone but an "attempt at humorous satire of political power and patriarchy within the context of other artworks in the exhibition and within the broader context of South African discourse".

The ANC approached the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday to try and stop the gallery from displaying the 1.85m-high painting titled The Spear, and City Press from carrying a photo of it on its website.

The painting is part of Cape Town artist Brett Murray's Hail to the Thief II exhibition at the gallery.

Comment: Now such an act is not covered under Section 16 of the constitution.  It is in effect a criminal act that grossly undermines the democratic right to freedom of expression.

The motif for defacing the painting is clear.  

The question now is how much responsibility should the ANC own when yesterday it was drumming up fervor among its supporters to take to the streets in front of the courthouse in protest.

I fully expect that the ANC will distance itself from this act of vandalism - it remains to be seen if they would publicly do so.

The circus is growing in strength but this is no humourous matter. 


(Update: 12:32pm):  This picture reportedly captures the two men responsible for the defacing of Murray's painting.

It appears that one is black and one is white and will, no doubt, open another round of racialized animosity:

Is it just me or does this act of vandalism seem so orchestrated?  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Prof Carl Jeppe ?