Goodman appeals ‘Spear’ classification

2012-07-10 16:59

The Goodman Gallery is appealing the classification of The Spear painting as unsuitable for under-16s.

Last month, the classification committee of the Film and Publications Board (FPB) gave artist Brett Murray’s painting a 16N rating.

This means children under the age of 16 should not have access to the artwork, because it displays nudity.

The FPB also ruled that its classification committee had the necessary jurisdiction to classify the painting, even though it had since been defaced.

“It is against both these decisions that Goodman Gallery has noted its appeal to the appeal tribunal,” spokesperson Lara Koseff said today.

The grounds for appealing the classification include that the committee “failed to give adequate consideration to the fact that The Spear is a bona fide work of artistic merit by a bona fide artist, and is a work of political satire”.

The committee had not given sufficient regard to the constitutionally protected expression of the artist.

It did not take into account that the image was published largely on the internet, and the guidelines on classification do not deal with the problems of classifying online publications.

Koseff said the committee “took into account questions of sensitive adults and broader issues of dignity” but the classification was limited to questions of children.

The committee “in any event erred in concluding that a 16N classification was appropriate”, she said.

The painting depicts President Jacob Zuma with exposed genitals.

At the time of the ruling, FPB CEO Yoliswa Makhasi said the board understood that the image of the painting had gone viral, but urged youths under the age of 16 to delete copies of it.

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