Penis art. Why it's wrong.

Saffiya Ismail doesn't think anyone has the right to depict someone else's genitals. Do you agree?

I prefer my collection of Rembrandt and Van Gogh's (LOL!).
 
The artwork has since been sold to a German collector. The artist Brett Murray, and the Goodman Gallery, refuse to take the painting down and refer to their constitutional privilege not to do so. According to the South African constitution, ‘freedom of expression’ and ‘artistic creativity’ is protected.
 
This morning most radio stations were inviting callers and debating this issue. The weekend papers carried this story and the social media has been in frenzy once again. Most people are polarised about this issue.The President’s private part is no laughing matter; but the constitution of our country is also not something to laugh about either.

I have heard heated debates : from racial stereotyping, disrespecting the President; others saying it’s a cultural attack etc.

There are those who feel his spear is in the public forum, it’s certainly part of his public image. Five or six wives, rape charges, out of wedlock kids, sex with an HIV positive woman; numerous mistresses, his virility etc. so the part which makes most of his decision; got the limelight. 

PERSONALLY: I don’t think anyone has the right to paint or depict someone else's private parts without their permission.

A very outspoken DJ said on Friday, there are no sacred cows, everyone is fair game! Which means he would be OK with one of his parents being depicted in any manner in the name of ART?

Majority would say that art should not have limitations.  We cannot and should not curb artistic expression. 

I have the following thoughts; concerns and questions?

Who decides what “artistic freedom” is?
And where the line of artistic freedom gets drawn?


Some say the only boundary line should be protecting minors from viewing certain things. The rest of us must decide what censors are self applicable. IS IT THIS SIMPLE?

Is this not doing more harm than good?
This opens up a platform of disrespect, any artist can now depict any politician or religious leader in any manner and call it art.

This probably will lead to a tit for tat scenario. I can only imagine the art that supporters of Cosatu or Zille will paint. I asked myself this question, if I was an artist, would I paint my boss in that manner? Err? No matter how funny it might be, I know what the consequences would be and therefore there are certain things which are best left in a box at the back of the cupboard. There is a line that one shouldn't cross. If everyone follows “freedom of expression”, then nothing is sacred anymore. Our mothers/fathers ... everyone and anyone becomes fair game.

Should art maintain moral and religious boundaries?
I don’t think anyone would like anti-Semitic art in a gallery or sexually explicit art to be on public display. 

Should there be a back room for viewing certain pieces which are less admired?
That way, people who could be offended have a choice to enter the back room or not. Video outlets and adult shops have these facilities, it’s your choice ... Go to the back room or not!

In London, an art exhibition on the theme of cannibalism  has attracted much comment for the way in which it includes a video of an artist apparently eating her own breast (it was actually a watermelon). Surely one would not want to take younger ones to a gallery which shows this in public sphere. Art depicting torture etc. is definitely not something most people would want to see... If violent, inhumane behaviour against humans is illegal, I don't think it should be presented to the general public in the form of art.

Our tastes vary; I would like to think that most of us know what is generally acceptable within our society.

Should we put limits on things as we do for smoking; alcohol or R-rated movies?
Normally if I don’t like something, I either chose not to watch it or walk away.

Many would disagree with me... but there’s ART out there with faeces and blood on the canvas, there’s art which depicts sadistic acts. Is this Art? For me... NO! For others ... YES!

There’s an exhibition being held in UK, it’s called Invisible Art. Basically, you can’t see it. Well, if they “see” me there, I will pay with “invisible” money to “see” this ART!

Check out Saffiya's blog or follow her on Twitter.

You can also Follow Women24 on Twitter.


What are the absolutes when it comes to what’s ART or what’s not ART?


 

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