Student responds and Curro apologises for controversial high school artwork

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The school at the centre of the outcry over controversial high school artwork (grantleigh.co.za)
The school at the centre of the outcry over controversial high school artwork (grantleigh.co.za)

In a statement to Parent24 today, representatives of Curro revealed that following an internal investigation, it has been determined that the duty of care and guidance offered to the learner did not always adequately address the underlying issues and potential implications of producing a visual art piece.

The local learner’s artwork upset Christians on social media when his year-end art submission was interpreted as disrespectful to Christianity. 

Read update: Controversial 'demonic' art project at Curro school taken down amid Christian outcry - pastor

In a video featuring the Grantleigh learner's final art project uploaded to Facebook, a clearly upset parent is filmed denouncing the exhibition. He explains that he loved the school, but that it is a "disgrace" and that it "broke his heart" that the school allowed it, calling for a protest against the Kwa-Zulu Natal based school.  

The artwork featured is part of a final submission to the Independent Examination Board (IEB) and was displayed in the school foyer as part of a year-end exhibition.

Must read: Curro school responds to protests over ‘satanic’ artwork

The school body now acknowledges that the content of the artwork was controversial and likely to stir emotive responses.

"It is also important that art is subjective and open to interpretation; art encourages people to voice an opinion either for or against the work in question," the statement adds. 

Found to comply

Images include those of a religious nature, but could be considered offensive in that they include sketches of God and Jesus as clowns, torn pages from the Bible used to create papier-mâché demons, and other images that could be understood to represent demonic themes. 

Curro says that the IEB confirmed that an independent examiner had examined the exhibition and found it to comply, in every respect with the examination brief and IEB academic standards, and that the exhibition was not reported as problematic to the IEB.

Nonetheless, Curro extends an "unreserved apology to all those community members who have been affected and offended by the artwork in question", adding that Grantleigh commits to "upholding and protecting the inalienable rights of every individual with respect to their religious belief, race or ethnicity, gender orientation and will actively include this as part of their ongoing good practice as an institution of learning and to rigorously avoid any action that constitutes incitement to cause harm." 

Before anyone speak, they perhaps think

The matric artist has also responded to the outcry, with a statement explaining the context of the work, and asking that "before anyone speak, they perhaps think", adding that "I cannot damage that which has already been shattered." 

See the full statement here:

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