Wednesday 30 May 2012

Row over Zuma painting ‘settled out of court’

As the legal pronouncement over the right or limit of artistic expression of South African artist, Brett Murray was being expected this week, the African National Congress (ANC) appeared to have mediated for out of court settlement between the artist and president Jacob Zuma.
  The development came today after weeks of confrontation between Goodman Gallery, which displayed Murray’s “provocative” art and Zuma.
  The artist's work, a satirical depiction of president Jacob Zuma in genital display titled The Spear of A Nation caused controversy and chaos in South Africa as it revisits the president's alleged past sex scandal.
  A Press Release said to have been signed by ANC, Murray and Goodman states:  
  We appreciates that the display of the Spear portrait by Brett Murray at the Goodman Gallery has caused hurt and pain to many South Africans. We are also fully cognisant of the fact that this offensive painting has also been an insult, disrespectful and indecent to the image, integrity and the stature of the President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma. It is also our contention that this painting has violated the right to human dignity of the President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, all members and supporters of the ANC and all fellow South Africans.
The pain and the hurt of the past two weeks caused by the Spear portrait as expressed above is now fully appreciated by the Goodman Gallery and the Artist, Brett Murray. Both say. "it was never the Goodman Gallery's nor Brett Murray's intention to hurt anyone or harm their dignity, the Gallery and Murray regrets the pain that the display of the painting has caused". We equally appreciate as the ANC that both Murray and the Gallery have realised that, " the image has conjured up past historical hurts and humiliations for some people in our country and the Goodman Gallery values both the constitutional rights of freedom of artistic expression as well as human dignity".
Brett Murray's The Spear after protesters defaced it inside Goodman Gallery

We believe that the lessons learnt in the last two weeks by both Goodman Gallery and Brett Murray and all of us fellow South Africans, will assist us not to repeat those hurting and painful mistakes in the future.
We therefore call upon the Goodman Gallery, Brett Murray and all South Africans to commit themselves in working for a South Africa where rights of all individuals are respected and where all of South Africans can work towards a South Africa that has a shared common value system, a South Africa that is united in its diverse cultures, a South Africa that appreciates.
its past and is working towards the healing of the humiliation and hurt of that past, a South Africa that belongs to all those who live in it, black and white.
Signed By on behalf of the ANC
Signed By on behalf of the Goodman Gallery and Brett Murray

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