South Africa: ANC drops case against Goodman gallery over Zuma portrait
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party agreed on Wednesday to drop court proceedings against a gallery and an artist over a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.
The Goodman Gallery agreed to take down the artwork – which was defaced by protesters last week. The German buyer of the piece by artist Brett Murray has indicated he will still purchase the portrait, even in its current form.
The City Press newspaper this week also agreed to remove the portrait from its website. Many South Africans found the portrait offensive.
“We are no longer taking the Goodman Gallery to court. We are no longer taking City Press to court,” said ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu, according to the SAPA news agency.
The settlement with the ANC did not include an agreement on removing the picture from the Goodman Gallery’s website, but according to curator Lisa Essers, the image will be removed from the gallery website as a “gesture of goodwill”.
The Murray artwork, entitled The Spear, was part of a wider exhibition of political satire pieces entitled “Hail to the Thief II.”
The Spear rocked the South African political scene in the past two weeks, touching on issues of racism and freedom of expression. Thousands of people marched through Johannesburg on Tuesday to support Zuma and the ANC’s stand on the artwork.