Ayanda Mabula painting comes from a place of anger - critic

The painting of Jacob Zuma and Atul Gupta in a sexually compromising position has caused outrage in ANC circles.

Stephen Grootes talks to Professor Chris Thurman, Wits English Department lecturer, and visual arts commentator about the artwork.

Grootes asked Thurman if the painting loses the power to make a political point by being this offensive.

I don't think we could take for granted that it is offensive. My sense of Ayanda Mabula's view of his work, he describes it as expressing a truth that is as blatant as the sun.

Prof Chris Thurman, visual art columnist

Thurman says Mabula views himself as a journalist showing what is out there, though he adopts a metaphorical way of doing that.

Thurman says the painting depicts an extreme characterisation of a relationship most South Africans would view in this way.

He is clearly trying to provoke a response, and a sense of outrage, says Thurman. The public get used to news headlines, and this would be the artist's attempt to get the viewer to see this much reported on relationship in a new light.

The consequence of this is a renewed discussion in the public domain, which can only be a good thing.

Prof Chris Thurman, visual art columnist

It may come across as crass and vulgar, but it is coming from a place of anger, argues Thurman.

He wants to express that anger, and invoke that anger in the viewer.

Prof Chris Thurman, visual art columnist

Listen to the full interview below:


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