Gallery's attitude appalling: SMME

2012-05-21 19:44
Johannesburg - The "impervious" attitude shown by the Goodman Gallery regarding a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed is appalling, the SMME Forum said on Monday.

While the forum defended the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression enjoyed by entrepreneurs, including artists and galleries, it failed to see artistic value in a painting that could only further polarise society.

"Surely the Goodman Gallery would not have dared publish PW Botha's or the apartheid generals' genitalia for the many documented instances of rape and sexual abuse meted to our black sisters and mothers?"

The SMME said in a statement the gallery, City Press, and artist Brett Murray should be reminded that Zuma was the president of all South Africans regardless of political, religious, or cultural differences.

There was also concern how reproduction of such images would affect children, especially in a "society that is grappling with the perennial social challenges of sexual abuse".

"Displays such as the one under consideration are unfortunate and do not help advance any rational public discourse," the SMME said.

The 1.85m-high painting titled The Spear is part of Murray's Hail to the Thief II exhibition. The portrait has sparked debate about freedom of expression and the right to dignity and privacy.

The African National Congress was set to argue in court on Tuesday that the painting should be removed because it violated Zuma's right to dignity and made a mockery of his office.
Read more on:    goodman gallery  |  jacob zuma  |  brett murray  |  zuma painting

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