ANC, Goodman Gallery reach agreement

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Johannesburg - The ANC and the Goodman Gallery have reached an agreement in the matter of the Brett Murray portrait depicting President Jacob Zuma in an offensive manner.

As per the terms of the agreement, the ANC will withdraw its application currently before the South Gauteng High Court with no order as to costs.

The case, the ruling party had previously said, involved balancing two competing constitutional rights - the right to human dignity and the right to freedom of artistic expression.

The Goodman Gallery will no longer display the painting, which has been sold to a German collector.

The 1.85m-high painting, titled The Spear, was part of Murray's Hail to the Thief II exhibition.

Gallery director Liza Essers said she regretted the pain that the display of the painting had caused the President and the nation.

Essers said the gallery and the artist had no intention of hurting or upsetting anyone, but understood that it did hurt people and the nation.

"It was never the Goodman Gallery or Brett Murray's intention to hurt anyone or harm their dignity," said Essers.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said they were happy that both Murray and the gallery had acknowledged this.

"The image has conjured up past historical hurt and humiliation for some people in our country," he said, adding that SA had learnt lessons that would help the nation not to repeat the same mistake.

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