The Director of Workers' World Media, Martin Jansen, has warned that artists may begin to censor themselves following the controversy surrounding “The Spear” painting by Brett Murray. Jansen was speaking during a panel discussion in Cape Town on the implications of a restriction on the painting.
The Film and Publications Board (FPB) has placed a 16 age restriction on the painting. He says the artist and the painting must be defended, further noting that “If we fail to do it - we'll be setting a very bad precedent for our society and we'll be undermining very seriously the freedom of expression that not only artists have but the majority of people.”
Jansen says the painting to some extent did lend itself to be targeted and says what it means now is that artists and people in the media in future might have an element of self-censorship. Meanwhile, following the FPB’s classification of “The Spear”, the City Press newspaper has said it's seeking legal advice on the matter.
Adding voice to the classification decision, the Goodman Gallery has said it's not impressed by the FPB’s decision. The ruling came after 18 days of controversy over artist Murray's painting of President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed. A hearing was held in Pretoria after members of the public complained about the painting to the board.