Scope of freedom of expression

Dark Art

No freedom is absolute.

My freedom ends where the tip of your nose starts. There is only one principle of fairness: I should not do something against a person which I would not expect that person to do against me.

Cape Town artists Brett Murray has painted a 1.85m-high painting titled “The Spear” in which he has depicted President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed. …. The government was calling on the gallery to take down the painting and wanted the media to stop publicising it, said Manyi. Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said he respected artists’ works and upheld their right to freedom of expression, but asked that they respect the rights of others. …..”This picture is offensive and disrespectful not only to an individual, but to the democratically elected President of South Africa and therefore to the whole country and the people of South Africa,” Cosatu said. (Source:

I hold no tender feelings for politicians but I was curious why he depicted Zuma in this way. What is the background. Whatever may be provocation, if this is freedom of speech, then right hurl abuses towards those in power, must be elevated to fundamental right and family members of person abused must be forced to hear the abuses in exercise of this right. This is perversion of art for political revenge. It really leaves bad taste . It is cheap way to seek publicity and must be deprecated.

© Sandeep Bhalla

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