Vandals deface controversial painting

May 22, 2012 at 8:08 AM

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 22 (UPI) -- A controversial painting depicting South Africa's president with his genitals hanging out has been vandalized at a Johannesburg gallery, police said.

The $14,000 painting of President Jacob Zuma had already been sold when two men defaced the artwork with black and red paint, the BBC reported.

Footage from a security camera showed a man in a suit painting a red cross over the president's face and genital area. A second attacker wearing a hooded top used his hands to rub black paint over the president's face and down the canvas.

The painting by white Cape Town artist Brett Murray, titled "The Spear," depicted Zuma as Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Zuma argued the work violated his constitutional right to privacy and asked a court to have it taken down. He is also taking legal action to force a South African newspaper to remove a copy of the painting from its Web site.

The work has been condemned by the African National Congress.

"It's rude, it's crude, it's disrespectful, it's racist," said ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe. "We have not outgrown racism in our 18 years."

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Germanwings pilot Lubitz buried quietly amid investigation
Islamic State beheads women for sorcery
Russia investigates legality of 1991 recognition of Baltic independence
South Korea fires warning shots at boat from North
Islamic State re-captures part of key Kurdish-held border town in Syria