Controversial Durban artwork defaced

By Drum Digital
30 May 2012

One of three unfinished elephant sculptures, for which the eThekwini metro has already paid R1 million, has been defaced with black and red paint, according to a report on Wednesday.

The artist, internationally acclaimed sculptor Andries Botha, said in response that perhaps the time had come for South Africans to realise that they were not living in a constitutional democracy.

In an earlier incident, in March this year, one of the elephants was completely dismantled, the metal frame was stolen and the other two sculptures were damaged.

"The government is supposed to protect public property, and the Constitution guarantees the space for artists' freedom of expression, but we are also constantly asked to make room for cultural differences," Botha said on Tuesday.

In the latest incident of vandalism, on separate occasions, black, then red paint was thrown at one of the sculptures, and spread on the paving, to resemble a blood stain.

The installation, situated at Durban's Warwick Interchange, was meant to symbolise the forgotten conversation between man and nature.

A local ANC leader had work on the installation halted in February 2010, because they apparently reminded people of the IFP logo.

Botha has been engaged in a legal battle with the municipality since then.

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