No President is Sacred

Last month there was a big to-do in South Africa over an art piece by Brett Murray, depicting president Jacob Zuma posing in a Lenin-style look to the future along with his penis being clearly visible.  Protesters have called it everything from disrespectful to racist, culminating in one enraged person attacking the artwork, damaging it, and closing the exhibition (or is it back already? I haven’t heard the latest)

Zuma has long been a contreversial figure, especially when it comes to sex and sexuality. He has had 6 wives and from them a grand total of 20 children. More infamously, he was acquitted of rape in 2005.  Throughout his political career in some way sex or sexuality has always been there, either in the background or the foreground. This would seem to be the grounds for which the artist chose to prominently include the president’s penis in the image.

Many disagree. They see these matters and personal and not subject to public criticism. They also feel the president of the nation deserves respect and not to be made a caricature of. But they don’t just disagree and write about it in the media and express their opinion in the many forums available to people today. They take it further and seek to have such images banned and follow that with all manner of accusation about the intentions of the artist.  Its a familiar theme in a world that has become very much about not just expressing an opinion, but stopping others from expressing their perhaps less popular opinion. Everyone is very busy being offended, and they demand someone else get in trouble for their alleged suffering.

Im neither South African nor a real artist, but I think there’s a global message in the events taking place around this work.  Therefore I’m making sure “The Spear” is available on this site… enjoy – or don’t.


    • bicyclemark
      June 4, 2012

      hahahah a member.

  1. bicyclemark
    June 5, 2012

    And thanks for the info Manuel.. I didn’t realize that aspect of it. What did you think of the artwork and the response?

  2. June 5, 2012

    I had heard of that – assumed it was just the penis rather than the whole image. Hmm Zuma…better than Mbeki then again Mbeki apart from the risible AIDS thing was a thinking man – Zuma seems to think with something else *ahem*

    Every time I go back there seems to be some falling out politically – last time it was with the wonderfully named Tokyo Sexwale and others, and the World Cup.

    But I agree with the expression thing. We can blog here about hating the Jubilee, Queen and Olympics…as long as you don’t DO anything. Those that have like Charlie Veitch have gotten unsurprisingly shut down. So it’s not just in South Africa. ‘We Love Our Queen…And Mean It MAN!’ – he says through gritted teeth at gunpoint.

  3. luiz paulo
    June 11, 2012

    and not more than his personal life in art a little more grotesque and he lives

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