Zuma ‘Spear’ perpetuates vulgar trend – Presidency

2012-05-18 12:25

The Presidency has added its voice to that of the ANC and Cosatu in condemning Brett Murray’s “grotesque” portrait of President Jacob Zuma, on display at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.

The ANC yesterday instructed its lawyers to approach the courts to force the gallery to remove the painting, The Spear, and to force City Press to remove the image from its website.

Both the gallery and City Press have indicated that they would defend such legal action.

According to the Presidency statement, the president reserves the right to take legal action in his personal capacity.

Said spokesperson Mac Maharaj: “We are amazed at the crude and offensive manner in which this artist denigrates the person and the office of the President of the Republic of South Africa.

“The Presidency is concerned that Brett Murray fails to appreciate that freedom carries a deep responsibility,” he said in the statement, adding that the right to freedom of artistic expression is not absolute.

Maharaj also said the Presidency was concerned that the painting “perpetuates a shocking new culture by some sections of the artistic world, of using vulgar methods of communicating about leading figures in the country, in particular the President”.

“Intense hatred of the new democratic administration or the ruling party should not translate into distorting South Africa’s value system of emphasising respect and of ensuring that disagreements are expressed in a cultured and civilised manner, which these artists are failing to do.”

Maharaj expressed shock at media houses who were “eager to publish (Murray’s portrait) repeatedly”.


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