Painting depicting white Zuma, Mandela removed

2013-04-15 09:06

A painting depicting President Jacob Zuma and former president Nelson Mandela as whites has been removed from an art exhibition in Nelspruit.

The art work, created by Kobus Myburgh, was in an exhibition scheduled to open at the Van Riebeeck Hall today, as part of the local municipality’s celebration of World Art Day, Beeld reported today.

In the same painting, former heads of state Hendrik Verwoerd, John Vorster, PW Botha and FW de Klerk were shown as blacks.

During an inspection of the exhibition, the council’s arts and culture head Themba Mona saw the painting of Zuman and Mandela and two others.

According to Beeld, Mona decided on the spot that the painting was “not suitable” for public viewing. He removed it and locked it in a storeroom.

Myburgh said the painting was created two years ago, long before the 2012 controversy surrounding the painting, The Spear, in which Zuma was depicted with his genitals exposed.

“It is by no means a protest piece. There is a positive message, to show that we are actually all alike. That’s why I called the painting Simunye – the Zulu word for ‘we are one’. We are and remain equal, regardless of the colour of our skin.”

He said he was disappointed his painting would not be seen, but he respected the board’s decision.

“It’s their gallery and they can decide what may be exhibited.”

Council spokeswoman Bessie Pienaar said Mona had the right to decide what could be exhibited.

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