Tag Archives: GOODMAN GALLERY

On the interpretation of a painting

I did not really want to write this piece, knowing full well that it would be greeted by howls of derision and by vituperative incomprehension in many quarters. But as events unfolded in the wake of the public display, at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, of the Brett Murray painting metaphorically titled The Spear, reaching…

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The Zuma portrait and black (male) sexuality

While delivering a keynote address at a conference focusing on Africa in the town of Swanwick in the UK Midlands on Saturday May 26 2012, I asked my audience what news coming out of my country or out of Africa they were aware of at this time. My audience was not aware of the exciting…

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Do we have to ask for permission to be offended?

I have resisted writing something about the Spear saga for two weeks. This was because for me the portrait was offensive but not as offensive as the portrait about Solomon Mahlangu’s last words. The words on that portrait cut very deeply into the pain hidden deep in every black person’s heart. It made a mockery…

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Dignity in la-la land: Why anybody can’t paint anybody’s penis

By Leonhard Praeg We all know that political liberals live in a la-la land that hovers, somewhat like a virtual reality, over the real geography of political time and space. For citizens of la-la land “freedom of expression” is the same in South Africa as it is in Zimbabwe as it is in New Zealand,…

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Murray’s painting mirrors Zuma’s life

I had already started writing my angry views about my president unzipped and exposed. When I started, I wrote it as a man, a black man, Saartjie Baartman’s brother, as someone raised by my grandmother with a moral stick. And I had joined in solidarity with those who are angry about the way President Jacob…

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