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Bad reaction to painting expected

Frank Chikane said the emotional reaction to 'The Spear' painting was expected.

The Spear defaced. Picture: Gareth Brown/iWitness

JOHANNESBURG - Former Presidency director general Frank Chikane on Saturday said it is naive for artists to think a controversial painting of the president would not illicit the type of emotional reaction it has.

A furore has erupted over Brett Murray's painting 'The Spear', which depicts President Jacob Zuma's genitals.

The South Gauteng High Court is currently hearing an application by Zuma and the ANC to prevent the image from being published or exhibited.

Chikane was at first reluctant, but later careful in his view of 'The Spear' painting.

Chikane said the reaction of ordinary South Africans should have been anticipated.

"Some people might say it is artistic. The majority of our people are not about art. They don't even buy art, they don't know it. Therefore when they see it, they see insult."

He added that the painting is viewed by many as an attack on the ANC, not just its leader.