Respect is the Name of the Game

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4 Responses

  1. Mark Human says:

    I generally agree with your comments Johan, but I think the two pieces of art referred to (or rather one piece of art and one piece of junk) should be judged separately. Initially when I saw the painting by Brett Murray I rejected it out of hand, but then I read the comments by satirical artist Ayanda Mabulu who also painted Zuma with exposed genitals two years ago, and he changed my opinion.

    In his painting Zuma’s penis is supported by a crutch, a metaphor used by Mabulu for the perception that Zuma’s sexual escapades were out of control and that he needed help.

    Mabula in his comments made two points that speaks to the peoples’ perception of Zuma and which I found relevant in Murray’s work:

    1. He argued that if a president disrespected the people he or she was supposed to be serving, then there was no other way of depicting that president.

    2. “What other way of depicting the president than how he is understood in the township?”. I.e. his sexual escapades are out of control and he needs help.

    The fact is that Zuma has burdened himself with sexual stigma and therefor this should be reflected in satire. In this regard I think the showerhead portrayal by Zapiro was absolutely brilliant.

    Having said that I find the penis drawing by Zapiro offensive and vulgar and unworthy of his talent. It makes no contribution other than simply being derogatory. I see it as a personal frontal attack and part of a private vendetta which I don’t want any part of. It is simply name calling by picture, similar to showing a middle finger, and I feel he exploited his position as journalist and artist to score cheap points.

    As always your comments have given much food for thought, thank you!

    • Manuel Longueira says:

      This puts me in mind of the old cliche,
      “Two wrongs don’t make a right”

      Just because the governing party has messed up, does not mean you are justified in disrespecting them.

      A higher degree of emotional intelligence will demand a more mature approach, where the critics maintain there own high values and standards…

      Thank you Johan

      • johanhburger says:

        Hi Manuel, it is exactly what I am pleading for. However, I am not so much about respecting the governing party for the sake of respecting them. I am more about respecting the bigger picture, the bigger ideal. I am about respecting the country and the nation – all the parts thereof. This should be our point of departure when making decisions about what actions are good and what are not. Criticize Zumabas much as you want to, but keep the bigger picture in mind! Otherwise a few thousand will laude you and millions will be alienated! Then you will have gained nothing!

    • johanhburger says:

      Hi Mark, thanks for this input. I would like to refer you to my comments to Manuel above. A couple of thousand would agree with the art appreciation part of your comment. A few million more would see the painting as an unacceptable method of communicating our displeasure with Zuma.