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ANC Seeks Interdict Against City Press and The Goodman Gallery over Brett Murray’s The Spear


Brett Murray’s controversial painting, The Spear, in which Jacob Zuma is depicted with his genitals exposed, has upset the ANC. The party is pursuing an interdict against The Goodman Gallery, where the painting forms part of Murray’s latest exhibition, Hail to the Thief II, and the City Press, who published an the image on the painting on their website.

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Ferial Haffajee, editor-in-chief of the City Press, has defended the newspaper’s decision to publish the image:

Did we think the image of President Jacob Zuma by Brett Murray was particularly beautiful to persuade us to publish it? No.

Would it be something I would hang at home? No.

There is a copy stuck on my office window, along with two others from Murray’s explosively angry exhibition of satirical graphic art.

Murray, now facing a demand from the governing ANC that he destroy the work, designed some of the anti-apartheid movement’s most iconic resistance art.

Nickolaus Bauer examines the constitutional implications of the interdict in an article for the Mail & Guardian:

The stage is set for a ground-breaking legal battle at the South Gauteng High Court this week as President Zuma’s right to dignity is weighed against the right to freedom of expression.

The president and the ANC is due to lock horns with the Goodman Gallery and City Press on Tuesday over the controversial exhibition and resultant publishing of Brett Murray’s contentious artwork The Spear.

Murray’s painting depicts Zuma with his genitals exposed, and forms part of his Hail to the Thief II exhibition.

The Spear received a further whack of fame and controversy this morning when it was defaced (censored?) with red and black paint:

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According to eNews, the painting in the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg was defaced as the court case in which the ANC sought to compel the gallery to remove the artwork began in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Eyewitnesses told the Mail & Guardian that two men painted a red “X” over the figure’s genital area and smeared the face and private parts with black paint. They were apparently locked in the guards’ hut before police arrived.

A university professor and a 25-year-old man are believed to be behind Tuesday’s defacing of a controversial painting of President Jacob Zuma.

The two were in custody at the Rosebank police station after they allegedly painted over the genitals on the artwork.

Greg Palmer, attorney for the Goodman Gallery which is hosting the exhibition by the artist Brett Murray, said the gallery would lay charges of destroying private property against them.

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Photo courtesy The Telegraph


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