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Animals Reinforce a Political Statement for artist Colbert Mashile

Depicting President Jacob Zuma in an artwork is a tricky business. It led to a court case for Brett Murray and caused a painting by Ayanda Mabulu to be censored at the Joburg Art Fair, until David Goldblatt intervened and reversed the decision.

Colbert Mashile’s painting titled Truth or Dare, which is being exhibited at his eponymous show at Everard Read Cape Town, won’t cause as much of a ruckus, despite Zuma being the central protagonist and depicted as a baboon. The only tell-tale sign that he is the subject is the shower motif, which cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro aka Zapiro employed as a defining index of Zuma’s identity. Zapiro got into hot water for depicting politicians as monkeys.

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