I’m pretty certain that news of the well hung painting in the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg by artist Brett Murray of President Jacob Zuma, is spreading like wildfire and causing great consternation and anger in certain circles.
Well that’s to be expected, but beyond the issue of freedom of speech which this whole episode has evoked [yet again], is the deep-seated anger that resides in an artist who was inspired to depict the President in a manner that is shocking, but yet speaks of an alarming truth about the political nature and moral character of the man, that many South Africans share.
Art is meant to elicit strong emotional responses; shock being a prized reaction. This particular work titled The Spear very effectively portrays the foreboding that is playing on the minds of many disgruntled South Africans at the moment.
Opinion is divided on this issue, with liberals generally agreeing that it should stay hung, citing freedom of speech as the determinant, to genuine Zuma-haters buzzing with absolute glee [and who could blame them] and the conservative types expressing shock and disgust. I imagine that there are some who are unsure about this one, but nobody takes fence-sitters seriously. By and large freedom of speech is winning.
However one of government’s spin doctors waxed disingenuously about rights and dignity and other claptrap, saying that the painting:
…perpetuates a shocking new culture by some sections of the artistic world, of using vulgar methods of communicating about leading figures in the country, including especially the president.
But Mac Maharaj, who’s been known to lose his foot in his mouth on more than a few occasions, is clearly forgetting the shocking culture of rampant corruption, incompetence, arrogance and bigotry that his government, represented by Jacob Zuma, perpetuates with gay abandon since coming into power.
Yes Mac, we hear you, but please go hang yourself next to the painting of your master.zizi, French for penis.