/ 13 July 2016

‘​Ayanda Mabulu’s latest painting is an abuse of freedom of speech’ – ANC

President Jacob Zuma during Cosatu's May Day celebrations.
President Jacob Zuma during Cosatu's May Day celebrations.

Both the African National Congress (ANC) and its Youth League (ANCYL) on Wednesday took offence at Ayanda Mabulu’s controversial latest artwork called “#Zupta state capture”, labelling it a “grotesque act of vulgarity and disrespect” and “nonsense”.

See the painting for yourself here.

In one of the works on exhibition at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg, Mabulu depicts President Jacob Zuma licking the behind of a naked Atul Gupta in an aircraft cockpit‚ with an ANC flag hanging on the side.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement that the party had noted the latest painting by Mabulu which captured Zuma in a demeaning and hyper-sexualised manner.

“The ANC condemns this form of commentary and views it as an abuse of the right to freedom of speech and media,” Kodwa said.

“Mabulu’s exhibition is a grotesque act of vulgarity and disrespect, and a blatant violation of the right to dignity of those portrayed.”

Mabulu has defended his “The Pornography of Power” exhibits as political commentary on “the situation that we are in in the country”.

Read more:
Ayanda Mabulu defends Zuma-Gupta painting: We must expose the naked truth

Kodwa said it should not be that artistic license should trump or be used as an excuse to trample on the human rights of others.

He said the ANC also noted that Mabulu had consistently, over a long time, relied on a particular symbolism to advance his commentary.

Kodwa said members of the public had expressed justifiable anger at these works.

“The ANC calls on all defenders of media freedom, freedom of expression and the arts to also condemn this excessive conduct,” Kodwa said, adding that the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) should not turn a blind eye on media practices that offended the very principles that they sought to defend.

Meanwhile, the ANCYL called Mabulu’s artwork “nonsense”, warning Mabulu that his recent portrait was an insult to the president of the ANC and the country.

“This is no artwork, not the one we can be proud about,” ANCYL spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize said.

“This is not art, but an insult and Ayanda should know better than to continue to do the nonsense that is before us now.”

This is not the first time the artist has caused controversy, as he has previously also painted Zuma with his genitals exposed. – African News Agency (ANA)