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Mabulu: Mandela would understand message behind painting

Controversial artist Ayanda Mabulu says there is nothing disrespectful about his latest painting which has been described as crude, disrespectful and lacking creativity.

FILE: Artist Ayanda Mabulu. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Controversial artist Ayanda Mabulu says there is nothing disrespectful about his latest painting which has been described as crude, disrespectful and lacking creativity.

Mabulu has painted an explicit portrait of President Jacob Zuma featuring Nelson Mandela.

He says Mandela represents South Africans who had high hopes for the country after 1994.

"Nelson Mandela knew that he was not bigger and holier than the people that he served. I think if Mandela himself was alive today, he’d understand the message behind the painting."

Meanwhile, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has added its voice to the growing condemnation of the Mabulu’s painting.

The foundation’s Sello Hatang says it’s shocking.

"As much as we respect Mr Mabulu’s freedom of expression through his art, we’re also are disturbed by the image."

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)