Presidential penis portrait riles S.Africa's ANC

Fri May 18, 2012 1:42pm GMT
 

By Peroshni Govender

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling ANC threatened to take legal action against a Johannesburg gallery for displaying art which lampoons President Jacob Zuma and accuses the party of corruption.

The African National Congress wants the Goodman Gallery to remove a painting of Zuma called "The Spear", which depicts the president with his genitals exposed, and another work that has a "For Sale" sign superimposed over the party logo.

The picture of Zuma is a facsimile of a famous poster of communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. In the red, black and yellow drawing, the president is depicted as striking Lenin's heroic stance, except his genitals hang outside of his trousers.

The works are part of a collection called "Hail to the Thief" and are meant to question whether the century-old African National Congress has lost its moral compass.

"It's making a mockery of the highest office," ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu told Reuters.

Mthembu said the artist was within his rights to express himself but said "The Spear" was "vulgar" and ridiculed President Zuma's stature.

The collection takes a provocative look at ANC heroes and highlights public perception that there is growing corruption in government, with officials abusing positions to amass wealth.

Other works include a Soviet-style poster reading: "The Kleptocrats" and "We demand Chivas, BMW's and Bribes".   Continued...

A visitor looks at a painting of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma at an exhibition in Johannesburg May 18, 2012. South Africa's ruling ANC threatened to take legal action against a Johannesburg gallery for displaying art which lampoons Zuma and accuses the party of corruption. The works are part of a collection called "Hail to the Thief" and are meant to question whether the century-old African National Congress has lost its moral compass. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
 
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