ATTENTION: This report contains graphic language.
JOHANNESBURG – In a landmark ruling the Equality Court has dismissed a complaint of hate speech against the art installation “F*** White People”.
The Cape Party opened a civil case against the Iziko National Gallery for displaying artist Dean Hutton’s work, arguing that it incited violence against white people.
But Chief Magistrate Daniel Thulare found that the artwork was an expression of the artist’s creativity.
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Dutton is a UCT Fine Arts Masters’ student and the piece was part of an “Art of Disruption” exhibition.
The Cape Party said it was disappointed by the ruling, which was a setback for race relations.
“I think this should be appealed, I cannot believe that 23 years after Nelson Mandela’s dream of a rainbow nation was brought to this country, that something like this could be considered art,” said the party’s leader, Jack Miller.
“To think that a national art gallery, which is funded by the government with taxpayers’ money, can put forward a supposed piece of art that says ‘F*** white people”, to think what kinds of art will appear in the future.”
In his findings, Thulare referred to speeches by Albert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela on white supremacy and white domination. Luthuli, Mandela and artist Dutton all used the word “white” to describe a system of oppression.
The one thing the art exhibit achieved was to draw South Africans to a moment of self-reflection.
Lawyers for the Iziko National Gallery said the ruling was a very important one.
“It was quite a landmark judgment. It came to the defence of freedom of speech, to the defence of artistic expression,” Jeremy Clark said.
Source: eNCA Life
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