‘Zuma’s jewels’ portrait defamatory, says ANC

2012-05-18 00:00

THE ANC has instructed its lawyers to go to court to force the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg and City Press to remove satirical artist Brett Murray’s portrait of President Jacob Zuma.

In a statement released today, the ANC said it had instructed its lawyers to approach the courts to compel Murray and the gallery to remove the portrait from display and destroy all printed promotional material.

City Press reported on Sunday that the 1,85-metre-high piece was priced at R136 000.

The ANC has instructed its lawyers to ask the newspaper to remove the portrait from its website.

City Press executive editor Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya said the newspaper would not be removing the portrait because of the ANC’s demands.

“We will respond to court papers when served; the courts will make a decision and we’ll abide by the court ruling,” Moya said.

The ANC also wants the gallery to remove the work from its website.

The ANC said the portrait, titled The Spear, defamed its president.

“This disgusting and unfortunate display of the president was brought to our attention by one of the media houses and we have physically confirmed this insulting depiction of the president,” reads the statement.

The ANC said it was disturbed and outraged by the distasteful and indecent manner in which Murray and the Goodman Gallery were displaying the person of Zuma.

“It is in our view and we remain steadfast in that the image and the dignity of our president as both president of the ANC, President of the Republic and as a human being has been dented by this so-called piece of art,” the ANC said.

“The same gallery has displayed the logo of the ANC without the permission, with the inscription ‘For sale’ on it.”

The party said both portraits were clearly calculated to denigrate the symbols and representative of the ANC and its president.

“The vulgar portrait and the dismembering of the ANC logo by Murray is an abuse of freedom of artistic expression and an acute violation of our Constitution, apart from being defamatory,” the party said.

It added that it believed in both freedom of the press and artistic expression.

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