After reading an article on how an artwork had been rejected from a display for being too "offensive", I came to wonder about just how expressive artists in today's society may be?
With all the xenophobia in South Africa at the moment, and taking our apartheid past into consideration, race is a touchy subject and freedom of expression is being more frequently conserved as artists are having to question just how much freedom they are allowed.
Ayanda Mabulu's somewhat controversial paintings depicting apartheid South Africa and the late AWB leader, Eugene Terre 'Blanche, as a pig were brushed off as being "offensive" and were not allowed to go on display. The artist argued that it was not his aim to disrespect the late AWB leader, but rather to depict and "show the filthiness of that era." The organisers of the display claimed that they did not wish to cause controversy amongst the people working in their building and "felt apprehensive about the situation."
Although we are living in a society more open to the unusual portrayal of thoughts and ideas, controversy over our apartheid past seems to be taking it one step too far. It seems as though artists are having to pay the price for an audience's comfort by giving up their expressive freedom.