Brett Murray’s painting The Spear didn’t cause much of a stir when it hung on the wall of the Goodman Gallery for an exhibition on May 10.
It was only on May 17 when the ANC took issue with the revealing portrayal of one of its, ahem, members that the work went viral. Scroll down to see the response from Twitter and Facebook users.
What you need to know
The artwork forms part of Murray’s Hail to the Thief II exhibition, currently running at the Goodman Gallery. It is inspired by an iconic image of Lenin, and shows the president with his genitals on display.
The ANC earlier sent the gallery a letter from its lawyers demanding its removal, but the gallery has declined.
“This disgusting and unfortunate display of the president was brought to our attention by one of the media houses and we have physically confirmed this insulting depiction of the president,” said the statement issued by ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu. “We have this morning instructed our lawyers to approach our courts to compel Brett Murray and Goodman Gallery to remove the portrait from display as well as from their website and destroy all printed promotional material.”
“We feel it is censorship to take the image down,” gallery spokesperson Lara Koseff said on Friday.
The ANC said they were also of the view that the “distasteful depiction” of Zuma had violated his individual right to dignity as contained in the Constitution.
Murray told the Mail & Guardian on Thursday afternoon that his work “speaks for itself”.
“Have a look at my show and see what you think. How I articulate myself is through my work. Those are my ideas.”