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Ayanda Mabulu painting it as he sees it
11 June 2010



I met Ayanda Mabulu a few years ago and liked his work. Six years on, he has progressed into an artist with a confident style and something to say. This article appeared in The Cape Times recently.

Artist barred from exhibition for 'offensive' paintings 
May 5, 2010

By Aziz Hartley

Pig heads, the apartheid South African flag and late AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche's head on a tray were not what a retail clothing store had in mind when it invited an artist to exhibit his works.

Truworths had invited Du Noon artist Ayanda Mabulu and other artists to put their paintings on display in the foyer of the company's Cape Town offices this week. But when he arrived with his work of art on Monday, he was sent packing, Mabulu said yesterday.

A painting had a pig's head next to the flag, another had a pig-headed horseman dressed in black, while the third showed Terre'Blanche's head on a platter behind that of a pig's head.

"I asked the woman in charge why my works were turned down. She said it was because they were political.

"I'm upset because as artists we should be free to express ourselves. By painting the old flag and pigs, I tried to show the filthiness of that era. I respect the death of Mr Terre'Blanche and I'm not saying he is a pig. I'm trying to portray what he did," Mabulu said.


Gail Moffat, who heads Truworths' social involvement project, said she saw Mabulu's work for the fist time on Monday.

"I felt his paintings were not suitable for the exhibition. The three paintings are controversial and we felt apprehensive about it. It could have caused controversy."

She said Mabulu had been offered an opportunity to stage a solo exhibition at a later stage.

Mabulu had said he would accept the offer on condition the paintings in question be exhibited.

"They probably expect me to paint fruit, beautiful people and other nice things. No thank you."

Andre Barnard, manager of Good Hope Studios, which mentors artists and runs workshops sponsored by Truworths, said Mabulu had been advised beforehand his works could offend. "We allow artists to express themselves. Unlike an art gallery where they can display works freely, this exhibition is in a private space. We did not want to create offence."

This article was published at:
  • http://tonight.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=5457016&fSectionId=455&fSetId=251 

Other articles that has appeared on this issue can be read at:
  • http://www.rapport.co.za/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Kunstenaar-wat-ET-as-vark-verf-baklei-vir-sy-vryheid-van-spraak-20100515
  • http://www.dieburger.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/ET-as-vark-uitgebeeld-in-uitstalling-20100513
The relevant paintings can be viewed here: http://worldart.co.za/artists/artist.asp?ID=59