KEEP ART FREE

Art Under Threat at the University of Cape Town

THE JOURNAL OF THE HELEN SUZMAN FOUNDATION

CAMPUS OF STORMS: FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION VERSUS POSTCOLONIAL CRINGE AT UCT
by Graham Dominy

 

Student protest movements have risen up across South African campuses focussing on issues of transformation, as well as issues of funding, in the higher education sector. One of the more controversial moments in the movement’s history was the burning of paintings during a protest at UCT in early 2016. Graeme Dominy looks at the challenges this poses to freedom of expression and the South African art world against the backdrop of rising nationalist sentiments.

 

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INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

THE ACADEMIC FREEDOM FARCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN
by David Benatar

 

In 2016, the executive of the University of Cape Town in South Africa overrode its academic freedom committee’s invitation to Flemming Rose to deliver the annual TB Davie academic freedom lecture. Mr Rose was disinvited over the protestations of the then members of the academic freedom committee. The irony of preventing a speaker from delivering an academic freedom lecture seems to have been lost on the university’s leadership, with the vice-chancellor, Dr Max Price, publicly defending the decision to disinvite.

 

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ARTERIAL NETWORK

OPINION | CENSORSHIP OF FINE ART AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN

 

An ongoing debate around censorship of fine art pieces has erupted once more at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. The following is an abbreviated version of an article by Ivor Powell, first published in the SA Art Times, and then republished by the Daily Maverick on the 4th of August 2017. Falling under the banner of the Artwatch Africa project, Arterial Network has permission to republish this piece in an effort to stimulate debate regarding censorship, artists’ rights and freedom of creative expression, and to encourage the move towards an amicable resolution in a leading African tertiary institution

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BUSINESS LIVE

IS UCT JUSTIFIED IN TAKING DOWN ARTWORKS THAT COULD CAUSE OFFENCE?
by Graham Wood

 

In February this year, the University of Cape Town (UCT) released a statement saying that veteran photographer David Goldblatt had decided to withdraw his eponymous collection from the university’s Libraries Special Collections and move it to Yale University in the US. The statement noted that Goldblatt "could not be persuaded out of his view that freedom of expression, artistic freedom and rights of artists were no longer protected at UCT".

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DAILY MAVERICK

WE SHOULD THINK MORE CAREFULLY ABOUT WHAT ARTWORKS ARE DISPLAYED IN EVERYDAY PUBLIC SPACES
by Max Price

 

On 4 August 2017, Daily Maverick republished an article in which two artists were quoted in an introductory paragraph. Their quotes were in response to a guest column I published in July on a different media platform, in which I attempted to make sense of why many students and staff may experience the University of Cape Town as racist.


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DAILY MAVERICK

RIGHT OF REPLY: UCT IS NOT A CLOSED AND CONTROLLED GALLERY
by Jay Pather

 

In any institution, be it a museum, art gallery or educational institution, artworks are routinely removed based on shifting contexts and themes. Some may emerge again later in a different context; others remain in storage. Any gallery or museum curator will tell you that some artworks in their collection have never been displayed. By JAY PATHER.


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DAILY MAVERICK

THE ART OF UCT’S MAX PRICE: SIDING WITH IGNORANCE AND MISPERCEPTION

by Ivor Powell

 

Two years ago, 74 artworks on public display at the University of Cape Town were removed to protect them from protesting students. At the time, UCT Vice Chancellor Max Price assured the public that their removal was merely “provisional”. But the longer the artworks are kept out of the public eye, the greater the risk to the integrity of UCT and the more compromised the humanist values at its institutional heart are, writes IVOR POWELL.


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ARTSFREEDOM

SOUTH AFRICA: ART DESTROYED AND CENSORED AT UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN

by Gabriel Clark-Brown

 

The campus of Africa’s leading university – The University of Cape Town (UCT) – has become an unsafe place for art over the past several years. UCT publicly denies that it has censored any art. However, a contradicting fact remains: “controversial”, “contested”, or “contentious” art continues to be hidden from view after a year and half because “some members of the campus community have identified certain works of art as offensive to them – for cultural, religious or political reasons”.


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2. 2016 Censorship and subsequent removal from public view of 74

artworks by the University of Cape Town

 

2.1 List of removed artworks that are currently in storage

 

1 Justin Anschutz Split path

2 Richard Keresemose Baholo Mandela receives honorary doctorate from UCT

3 Richard Keresemose Baholo Stop the Killings

4 Esmeralda Brettany Serialisation

5 Breyten Breytenbach FG

6 Robert Broadley Flowers in a Vase

7 Robert Broadley Portrait of an Old Man

8 Robert Broadley Portrait of the artist, Nerine Desmond

9 Robert Broadley Roses in a Jug

10 Robert Broadley Roses in a Vase

11 Robert Broadley Tree in Blossom

12 David Brown Travelling icon; an artist’s workshop

13 Mia Couvaras Untitled

14 R Daniels Perversion

15 R Daniels Pumpkin Aand

16 R Daniels The Dreamer

17 P de Katow Portrait of Prof James Cameron

18 Lyndall Gente World in a Grain of Sand

19 Constance Greaves Portrait of an African Smoking a Pipe

20 Charles M Horsfall Portrait of Mrs Evelyn Jagger

21 Isabella Kneymeyer A Quick Streamer Sketch, Fish River Canyon

22 Isabella Kneymeyer Streamer Cross Hatch, Study Luderitz, Namibia

23 Neville Lewis Portrait of JC Smuts

24 Antonio Mancini La Prighiera

25 Edward Mills Portrait of Alfred Beit

26 W G Parker Portrait of Sir John Buchanan

27 Henry Pegram Beit, Alfred (1853-1906)

28 Michael Pettit Siegfried’s journey down the Rhine

29 Joshua Reynolds (After) Dutchess of Devonshire

30 Joshua Reynolds (After) Lady Compton

31 George Crossland Robinson Portrait of Prof Renicus D Nanta

32 David Rossouw Sunningdale

33 David Rossouw Welgevonden

34 Edward Roworth Portrait of Dr Thomas Benjamin Davie

35 Edward Roworth Portrait of Prof Theo le Roux

36 Rupert Shephard Portrait of JP Duminy

37 Lucky Sibiya Village Life

38 Pippa Skotnes The wind in //Kabbo’s sails

39 W T Smith Portrait of Henry Murray

40 Irma Stern Ballerinas at Practice

41 Irma Stern Portrait of a Ballerina

42 Irma Stern Portrait of an African Man Blowing a Horn

43 Mikhael Subotsky Untitled

44 Mikhael Subotsky Voter X

45 Philip Tennyson Cole Portrait of an unknown associate

46 Hareward Hayes Tresidder Bowl of Flowers

47 Karina Turok Portrait of Mandela (above)

48 Unknown artist Continental School Figure of a Standing Woman and a Study of an Arm

49 Unknown artist Seated Woman and a Study of a Head in Profile and a Hand

50 Hubert von Herkommer Sir Julius Charles Werhner

51 Robert Heard Whale Russel, J (Rev) (died 1928)

52 John Wheatley Maidens at Play near Rock

53 John Wheatley Portrait of Carl Frederick Kolbe

54 John Wheatley Portrait of Dr E Barnard Fuller

55 John Wheatley Portrait of JW Jagger

56 John Wheatley Portrait of WF Fish

57 Sue Williamson Aminia Cachalia

58 Sue Williamson Cheryl Carolus

59 Sue Williamson Helen Joseph

60 Sue Williamson Mamphela Ramphele (above)

61 Michael Wyeth Blue Wall

 

2.2 List of removed artworks that have been returned to the lender

 

62 Breyten Breytenbach  Hovering Dog

63 Breyten Breytenbach  SA Angel black/white

64 Christo Coetzee  Untitled (Ping pong balls)

65 Steven Cohen  Five Heads (above)

66 Pieter Hugo Dayaba Usman with monkey, Abuja,Nigeria

67 Vusi Khumalo Township scene

68 Twinki Laubscher Seated angel

69 Twinki Laubscher  Reclining angel with cat

70 Christopher Slack  Twenty four hour service

71 Andrew Tshabangu  Trance, Tzaneen

72 Andrew Tshabangu  Bible and candle, Zola, Soweto (above)

 

2.3 List of removed artworks that are unlocated

 

73 Herbert Coetzee  Portrait of Sir Richard Luyt

74 James Mac Donald  Triptych 1 (The Apostles)

75 Edward Roworth  Portrait of Prof William Ritchie

 

http://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/madiba-we-will-continue-to-do-our-job-1623080

 

http://www.goodman-gallery.com/exhibitions/344

 

Statement by the University Vice-Chancellor on the removal of artworks

 

https://www.uct.ac.za/dailynews/?id=9669

 

Statement by the UCT Works of Art Committee

 

http://www.groundup.org.za/media/uploads/documents/WOAC%20on%20removals%20Feb%2016%20Peter%20Anderson.pdf

 

2.2 Public reactions to list of removed works

 

http://www.groundup.org.za/article/uct-and-art-exchange-between-max-price-and-belinda-bozzoli/

 

Reaction by the University of Ghent

 

http://www.litnet.co.za/pen-afrikaans-se-stellingname-oor-volgehoue-kunssensuur-aan-die-universiteit-kaapstad/

 

Reaction by the Human Rights Commission, South Africa

 

http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/e80c41804107d87098f4fc8dcf0b605f/HRC-investigates-removal-of-artworks-at-UCT-20170505

 

 

3. 16 February 2016 Removal, Defacement, Destruction of artworks by  students

and others at the University of Cape Town on the evening of 16 February 2016

 

 



Source: https://scontent-jnb1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/12715733_453268451465168_5909713753286829059_n.jpg?oh=dd5de7cc5efd9d3af7a3190f7afe9d91&oe=59B6CE73

 

 

Source: https://scontent-jnb1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/12743752_453270234798323_5516132714628065877_n.jpg?oh=75cec73f8e6a3bd56cbc5412a39d3882&oe=59C1E895

 

Source: https://www.facebook.com/pg/CapeArgus/photos/?tab=album&album_id=453267661465247

 

 

Destruction of paintings by Keresemose Richard Baholo on 16 February 2016

 

Source: http://www.groundup.org.za/article/rhodes-must-fall-protesters-destroy-uct-artworks/

 

See also:

 

https://www.uct.ac.za/dailynews/?id=9590

 

3.1 List of destroyed artworks and heritage poster displays

 

At least 23 works were destroyed.

 

http://www.groundup.org.za/article/here-list-art-destroyed-uct/

 

3.2 Other works that were destroyed include two framed collages with original photos and documents, celebrating the anti-apartheid activist Molly Blackburn’s life, taken from the Molly Blackburn Memorial Hall. Blackburn, a member of the Black Sash organisation, was killed in a car accident in December 1985 while travelling with colleagues in the Eastern Cape, recording events under the state of emergency, and taking statements.

 

https://www.uct.ac.za/mondaypaper/archives/?id=4594#.WM93f7tp2n8.email

 

Response to the burning of the collages

 

http://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/opinion/lets-heal-our-wounds-together-1989398

 

All of UCT graduate and prize-winning artist Mikhael Subotzky’s Pollsmoor photographs were removed from the Law Library in 2016. Protesting students had covered these with black bin bags, before they were removed by the university.

 

 

 3.3 Defacing of photographic exhibition on 9 March 2016

 

 

Source: http://www.groundup.org.za/article/rhodes-must-fall-exhibition-vandalised-uct-protest/

 

Photograph by David Goldblatt defaced at exhibition

 

 

Source: https://www.facebook.com/transfeministcollective/photos/a.974273075972742.1073741828.973444259388957/1132209586845756/?type=3&theater

 

UCT Academic Freedom Committee Statement on closure of photographic exhibitions

 

https://www.uct.ac.za/dailynews/?id=9648

 

3.4 Sculpture and drawing censored by covering up

 

3.4.1 “Sarah Bartman” by Willie Bester covered 9 March by students

 

http://www.vgallery.co.za/2000article28/vzine.htm

 

http://www.groundup.org.za/article/art-and-uct-opportunity-encourage-debate/

 

3.4.2 “Pasiphaë” by Dianne Victor boarded up on 7 April 2016

 

http://www.groundup.org.za/article/prominent-artwork-covered-uct/

 

3.5 Public Commentary from UCT vice-chancellor Max Price on 10 November 2016

 

www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/university-culture-still-alienates-black-students-price-20161110

 

 

 

 

4. 2016 Index on Censorship Statement on the withdrawal of the invitation to Flemming Rose

 

 

https://www.indexoncensorship.org/2016/07/index-censorship-condemns-decision-axe-flemming-rose-speaker-academic-freedom/

5. 2016 Fine Art students barred by students and others, from attending their
 classes and not getting access to their studios

 

http://www.groundup.org.za/article/backlash-staff-and-alumni-against-uct-executive/#letter-3

6. 2017 David Goldblatt removes his photographic archive to Yale on basis that freedom of expression is no longer protected at UCT.

 

 

 

6.1 UCT Statement on David Goldblatt Collection

 

https://www.uct.ac.za/usr/press/2017/2017-02-24_Statement_GoldblattCollection_AM.pdf

 

News item quotes David Goldblatt on 21 February 2017

 

http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/lifestyle/2017/02/21/Local-photographers-are-finally-getting-more-exposure-for-their-art1

 

6.2 Student activist Chumani Maxwele taking credit for “political pressure to remove works of art” on 7 March 2017

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/chumani.maxwele

7. 2017 Art Task team Final Report

 

 

This Report mentions taking work out of storage for “”special exhibitions” of “controversial art” shadowing the reminiscence of “entaertete” art.

 

“The University of Cape Town must keep artworks that were removed from the walls in storage pending a broader consultative process. This consultation may take the form of displays of some of the contested artworks, (in dedicated spaces such as the CAS Gallery), debates and discussions around specific artworks and/or themes. Seminars that may involve artists of ‘contested’ works may also be hosted by the WOAC and other departments in the university around different artworks and symbols.”

 

http://www.uct.ac.za/downloads/email/Artworks_Report_to_Council.Feb2017.pdf

8. 2017 UCT Vice Chancellor Max Price blacklists anti-apartheid photographers, suggesting their works contribute to institutional racism.

 

 

UCT Vice Chancellor Max Price blacklists the works of anti-apartheid photographers Peter Magubane, David Goldblatt, Omar Badsha and Paul Weinberg (who is a UCT staff member), suggesting that their works contribute to institutional racism.

 

http://www.news24.com/Columnists/GuestColumn/a-subtle-kind-of-racism-20170716-2

 

9. 2017 UCT Vice Chancellor Max Price states intention to display ‘contested’
 artwork selection for debate.

 

 

https://www.news.uct.ac.za/article/-2017-07-28-funding-for-student-wellness-service-and-other-updates