'I never meant to hurt anyone': Brett Murray

By Drum Digital
18 May 2012

Cape Town artist Brett Murray says his artwork depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed was never meant to hurt anyone, the Cape Times reported on Tuesday.

"I never intended the artwork to cause any hurt or to harm the dignity of any person," he said in a responding affidavit to Zuma's court application to have the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg take the painting down.

His work was "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".

He added that during apartheid he had created satirical images which attacked abuses of power. He reportedly said he had used, and would continue to use, symbols with sexual connotations representative of political power and patriarchy.

The African National Congress would approach the 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.

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