The new painting of Jacob Zuma, by Ayanda Mabulu
by The Editor
FEATURE: President Zuma has brought this on himself. It is unfortunate, because much of the debate about this new painting (currently on exhibition at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town) will not be about the quality of the art, but all those euphemisms the ANC evokes to suppress freedom of expression – dignity, respect, culture, etc. I feel duty bound to post the picture, then, for two reasons: one, to demonstrate some consistency on this issue and two, to take a stand for freedom of expression, in the same way I did over The Spear. Thus, what follows below is the new painting of President Jacob Zuma, by artist Ayanda Mabulu. Read this blog to see it and, if you do, and you are sensitive about such things, make the choice to be offended and test your own tolerance and constitutional commitment. Choice is the essence of freedom, here is yours.
The new painting of Jacob Zuma, by Ayanda Mabulu
“Umshini Wam” (Weapon of Mass Destruction)
By: Ayanda Mabulu
28 August 2012
BACKGROUND: For those unfamiliar with Ayanda Mabulu, he actually predates Brett Murray on the controversy front. In 2010 he held an exhibition entitled ‘Un-Mute My Tongue’ which contained the picture ‘Better Poor Than a Rich Puppet’. Like The Spear, it too contained a representation of Jacob Zuma’s penis. So no one can acuse him of riding on Murray’s coat tails. Yet nothing was made of it, perhaps the definitive indication of the ANC’s and Zuma’s hypocrisy on this subject.
• The Painting of President Zuma
• The Jacob Zuma Painting and Idea of Respect
• The Painting, the Individual and the Institution
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Zuma should be proud. Artists seem to be the only ones who think that he is bigger than reality.
“I feel duty bound to post the picture,” Funny. He’s your political opposition and that’s precisely why you did it. I think you’ve misread the general public, who are now quite bored with stories of naked presidents. As for the artist. He’s just an opportunist riding on the coat tales of the previous scandal. No points there.
Aaah Sean, I do so enjoy your comments, always so wracked by conspiracy and scepticism. I find your line “As for the artist. He’s just an opportunist riding on the coat tales of the previous scandal. No points there” especially hilarious. Did you even read the blog? I mean its one thing ignoring the facts, quite another to actually quote them in trying to disprove them. That line in particular really did make me laugh out loud. No point, obviously, in refuting your reading of my motivation, as with most bias I sense it is the result of some emotional impulse rather than any meaningful rational consideration, so I will let you play with it to your heart’s content. However, judging from the number of views of the post so far, I can tell you on the evidence your reading of the public interest is nothing more than a bad guess. But then that applies to most of your comment. Gareth
I doubt that Ayanda Mabulu didn’t consider the fact that his new painting would re-ignite the Spear saga. From that point of view one could certainly apply the coat-tails argument, despite Ayanda’s original “Better Poor…” painting, which received very little attention.
The fact of the matter is that more and more people, for various reasons, are seeing Zuma as wholly unfit for the position that he holds, and this is why they feel justified in taking cheap shots (which I think this painting is).
Politics in this country, largely due to Malema in my opinion, has really degenerated into hit-and-run opportunism. Nasty, but interesting all the same.
Point 1 – The Freedom of Expression is analogous to climbing the highest mountain. If one artist has climbed the summit and expressed himself another artist is going to attempt to climb a higher summit. The ANC should learn that it cannot attempt to surpress or limit the height of the summit.
Point 2 – The ANC should understand that sending a thousand “impis” to try and deter one gallery from publishing artistic expression will not be successful.
Point 3 – I respect the rule of law of our country. If the ANC feels theie president has been defamed and dishonoured and feel offended by the artist then they have a right to a civil action in our courts for that defamation. i hope that this time they do not employ a crying advocate that will stop the court proceeding in the middle of the case with his uncontrollable tears and instead employ an advocate who could calmly put his case across. At the end I will respect the judges decision and I hop the ANC will do so as well.
Fayzal from Mayfair
Dear tofufighter, that is a very important point – about Zuma. I am going to borrow it and make it in a piece I am writing, if you don’t mind :). Thank you. Gareth
I’m glad you read my comments. The interest in this subject is so large, that despite your repeating the links for the painting, you still only have 4 original comments and 3 re-tweets. I would say the public has spoken.
Well, Sean, i guess we can just be grateful the public who have spoken aren’t as smug as you are.
Political analyst Mckaiser seems to think that the muted response to this painting is due to the public being desensitized. Personally I think that there are more than a handful of people ignoring this exactly because it was painted by a black man, and they’re trying to reconcile this with their previous knee-jerk “racist” response to The Spear. Or, since people aren’t generally too enthusiastic about catharsis, they’re just choosing to ignore it altogether.
The YL camp are deliberately ignoring it for obvious reasons.
Cosatu has made the odd announcement, but they clearly have their hands full.
Is it at all surprising that it’s in fact the DA, in what I see as an attempt to get people to reflect on their reactions to the previous painting, who is making the most noise about this?
Why would anyone be surprised by the “disrespect” people seem to have for Zuma. All he succeeded in so far is controversy, a completely impotent Government and unrests everywhere. The only thing he seems to be good at is producing children.
What more can one say??? If Jacob Zuma is the best the ANC can offer as president then South Africa needs a week of mourning and then a week of prayer (perhaps a month). May God help us!!!