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ANC hits out at art showing Jacob Zuma in exposed state

Published on Saturday 19 May 2012 04:02

South Africa’s ruling ANC is threatening to take legal action against a Johannesburg gallery for exhibiting art lampooning president Jacob Zuma and accusing the party of corruption.

The African National Congress wants the Goodman Gallery to remove a painting of Mr Zuma – called The Spear – by anti-apartheid artist Brett Murray, which depicts the president with his genitals exposed, and another work that has a “For Sale” sign superimposed over the ANC logo.

The picture of Mr Zuma is a facsimile of a poster of Communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. In the red, black and yellow drawing, the president is depicted as striking Lenin’s heroic stance, except while inadvertently exposing himself.

The works are part of a collection called “Hail to the Thief” and are meant to question whether the century-old ANC has lost its moral compass.

“It’s making a mockery of the highest office,” ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said yesterday.
Mr Mthembu said the artist was within his rights to express himself but said The Spear was “vulgar” and ridiculed president Zuma’s stature.

The collection takes a provocative look at ANC heroes and highlights perception that there is growing corruption in government. Other works include a Soviet-style poster reading: “The Kleptocrats”, and “We demand Chivas, BMWs and Bribes”.