Brett Murray talks at Africartoons Exhibit of Spear cartoons

Photo by Gavin Thomson
Fine artist and satirist Brett Murray, the painter of the controversial portrait of President Zuma titled The Spear, was a special guest of africartoons at the exhibition of Spear Cartoons we curated as part of the co/MIX Day at the Open Book Festival in Cape Town last weekend.

Also at the event were africartoonists Brandan, Chip, Deni Brown, Gavin Thomson, Stent and Zapiro, whose work was on display at the exhibition and as part of africartoons' slide presentation of Julius Malema cartoons.

Murray spoke out for the first time about his surprise at the reaction to the piece.

He said that his decision to depict the president's penis was a 50/50 call as he feared it might detract from the fact that Zuma was a parody of a famouse portrait of Vladimir Lenin.

Africartoons asked Murray whether he was surprised that his portrayal of the president's genitalia garnered more of an outcry than other (potentially more damning) aspects of his exhibition, not least of all its title: Hail to the Thief.

Murray said that he felt that the government's response was calculated to solicit sympathy for the President and build support for his bid for a second term, while also serving as a convenient distraction from all the ills they have brought on the country.

The artist spoke passionately about the need keep these issues in the public eye, and how his work and that of editorial cartoonists required unfettered freedom of expression to ensure that this need was met.

Murray's Spear painting and the heavy handed response it received has inspired over 100 cartoons.

A small selection of these were chosen for the exhibition of Spear Cartoons, which featured the work of BRANDAN, CHIP, DR JACK, DOV FEDLER, FINDLAY, JERM, MADAM & EVE, MILES, SIWELA, STENT and ZAPIRO. Plans are afoot to take the exhibition to other cities.

Photo by Gavin Thomson

Posted on Sep 30, 2012 by Africartoons Bookmark and Share