SA: Presidential penis portrait
Mon, 21 May 2012 11:25a.m.
By Donna Bryson
South Africa's governing party says it will demand the removal of a painting from an exhibition by one of the nation's best-known artists that ridicules the party and the president with graphic and provocative imagery.
Brett Murray's sculptures and paintings, in an exhibition that opened at a major Johannesburg gallery last week titled "Hail to the Thief II," are an "abuse of freedom of artistic expression," ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement. He added ANC lawyers will go to court to force the Goodman Gallery to remove a painting of ANC leader President Jacob Zuma from the exhibition and from its website.
The gallery did not immediately respond to a call and an email requesting comment. Murray, known for provocative and political work, said through the gallery that he would have no comment.
The painting that most angered Mthembu is a black, red and yellow acrylic on canvas priced at 120,000 rand called "The Spear". In a style reminiscent of Andy Warhol's brightly coloured Marilyn Monroe portraits, it depicts Zuma in a suit and what could be a codpiece accentuating his genitals. Some observers say it depicts Zuma exposing his genitals.
Other work in the show recalls Soviet-era propaganda posters, and twists political slogans to acerbic effect. In an essay accompanying the exhibit, curators say the work forms "part of a vitriolic and succinct censure of bad governance and are (Murray's) attempts to humorously expose the paucity of morals and greed within the ruling elite".
A silkscreen in the show has the silhouette of a machine-gun toting guerrilla with Murray's own version of the well-known last words of Solomon Mahlangu, an ANC militant who was hanged by the apartheid government in 1979:
"Tell my people that I love them and that they must continue the struggle for Chivas Regal ... and kick-backs."
Visitors can take away posters with the ANC spear-and-shield logo and two phrases: "For sale" and "Sold".
Murray's criticism of the ANC echoes commentary that has appeared in newspaper articles and editorial cartoons and been debated on talk radio in South Africa.
In 2008, two years after Zuma was acquitted of rape charges, cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro depicted Zuma with his pants down, preparing to rape a blindfolded, female figure symbolising justice. Shapiro, who signs his work Zapiro, was commenting at the time on allegations Zuma was trying to intimidate legal authorities.
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1/06/2012 8:52:28 p.m.
Roger Wynne-Dyke wrote:
I am a white, and I am South African, so it would be easy to make a sweeping generalisation that because of the colour of my skin and my nationality, I am probably a racist. And because I am a white racist I am anti the ANC, have loads of money, a university degree, and not an ‘African’, simply a ‘South African’. Conversely, if I was black I would be pro ANC, the criminal element or a corrupt official, I would probably have AIDS, and I would be an ‘African’ through and through. It is therefore predetermined that generalisations will be made, no matter how ridiculous they are and so where better to generalise than a country with such a history as South Africa?...
Continue this article - http://www.theexpeditionproject.com/Latest-Articles/are-we-all-racist.html
27/05/2012 2:43:40 a.m.
Regardless of the many incideous acts zuma is accused of, and i for one do not understand why taxpayers should be paying for the livelihood of his gazillion wives, he is the president of the country and for that he deserves to be treated with some respect. This painting is wrong on so many levels, it infringes the man's right of dignity and it is an appalling use of freedom of expression.
26/05/2012 11:51:40 p.m.
It's not an "abuse of freedom of artistic expression" if the artist is touching on a real issue. The statement he is making is of value and the only abuse of freedom here is the people that are trying to get it removed. He isn't just adding a penis willy nilly, for the sake of shocking people. Also, I notice he has named the piece 'The Spear' perhaps referring to the mans penis as a weapon.
26/05/2012 4:21:13 p.m.
Donna Bryson completely missed the fact that Zuma is in the pose of a famous portrait of Vladimir Lenin. The other paintings in the exhibition also mock socialist realism.
25/05/2012 2:23:27 p.m.
william b wrote:
excellent art. if they do not want to be criticized, then leave the office. they are fair and unfair game as politicians. democracy rules, not lying, stealing corrupt politicians. the ANC should not expect a free ride on the corruption train. they should not expect to leave office with all their greedy little hands can hold.
22/05/2012 11:02:14 a.m.
he can be doing many things thats not accepted by many but come on painting the presidents penis for every body to see!!!! thats now way too much,very disrespectful,and thats personal. Africa where are we heading 2??no body deserves that.this painter MUST BE SUED
22/05/2012 3:27:41 a.m.
people are just getting personal.Mr.president sexual lifestyle should be left alone.he is human just like you and me,really theres no need.no respect for our leaders.people are just quick to judge
21/05/2012 9:05:48 p.m.
Wow, they circumcise in South Africa, too?
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