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'The Spear' artist breaks his silence

The artist who created the controversial portrait on President Zuma speaks on the painting

The Spear - Cropped. Picture: Stephen Grootes/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Artist Brett Murray on Monday broke his silence for the first time since his portrait went on exhibition at the Goodman Gallery.

The controversial painting depicts President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

In court papers filed against the ANC's application to remove the image from display, Murray described it as a parody of political power and patriarchy.

He also said he never intended to cause hurt or to harm the dignity of another.

The Goodman Gallery's legal papers also include affidavits from artists William Kentridge, Senzeni Marasela and Vulindlela Nyoni.

Murray's affidavit is the shortest of those lodged with the court.

The artist said he uses images with sexual connotations to represent power.

Murray said attacking abuse of power through parody is protected under the Constitution.

In his affidavit, Kentridge said the theme of political power is the subject of commentary because politicians play up on their machismo.

He points to Bill Clinton in the United States and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Marasela used her papers to ask whether political parties are now allowed to tell artists what works they are allowed to produce.

To view the legal documents, click here