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Prof Jansen slams 'fake outrage' over 'demonic' art project at Curro school

Grantleigh School in KwaZulu-Natal is conducting an internal probe after Christian parents complained about an art exhibition.

grantleigh-pupil-art-workpng

Public intellectual Professor Jonathan Jansen has come out to defend the controversial artwork made by a matric student at Curro's Grantleigh School in Richards Bay.

The pupil's artwork has caused an outcry among parents and the Christian community for its depictions of satan, Jesus, the Bible and other references.

An internal investigation is underway after some parents complained that the artwork goes against the Christian ethos of the school.

A parent at the school took a video of the controversial artwork while attending the year-end exhibition.

The upset father, who is a pastor, called the artwork demonic and unacceptable in a video that has spread on social media.

It's understood the young artist has said his artwork is a commentary on how organised religion chases money.

Stellenbosch University's Prof Jonathan Jansen says the pupil's artwork communicates a much bigger symbolic message. He says the pupil's artwork should be applauded and not suppressed.

Prof Jansen has slammed what he calls fake outrage over the art and says he wishes the so-called Christians expressed the same outrage about poverty, racism and xenophobia.

This is a Constitutional democracy in which people can think for themselves, in which art is a very important part of expression.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University

If their Jesus is so small and so threatened by a young boy's depiction of the divine then I suggest they go re-read their scriptures.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University

The whole idea of art is to be offensive, to push the boundaries and turn orthodoxy on its head.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University

Ashraf Jamal, a Cape Town-based academic, writer and cultural theorist says he recognises why the artwork has caused hysteria.

Jamal argues that extremism has made a return into society, threatening democratic principles and expression.

The age we are living in is an age where fundamentalist is returning with enormous extremity.

Ashraf Jamal, academic, writer and cultural theorist

There's nothing wrong with what the young student did and his challenges to the monetisation of religion is absolutely on point.

Ashraf Jamal, academic, writer and cultural theorist

Listen to the debate over the artwork:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Prof Jansen slams 'fake outrage' over 'demonic' art project at Curro school