PRETORIA - There are concerns that the decision to classify 'The Spea'r painting may stifle artistic creativity and criticism of government.
Earlier on Friday, the Film and Publication Board (FPB) announced that the artwork will carry an age restriction of 16 years for nudity, to protect children from harmful content.
The portrait by Brett Murray, which has since been defaced, depicts President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.
The image was exhibited at the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
The gallery’s spokesperson Lara Koseff said they were disappointed by the decision.
They believe it will have an impact on artistic creativity.
“Artists will be prevented from doing outspoken work as a lesson from the past.”
She said they will study the classification report and consult with their attorneys.
The Freedom of Expression Institute's Director Anton Harber said he was very concerned by the precedent set by the board classifying art on the basis of nudity.
“To be consistent, they will now need to look at other nudity images in galleries, and clearly that is a ridiculous area for them to be in.”
The ANC said it respected the board's decision.
(Edited by Zethu Zulu)