JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Another South African artist has used President Jacob Zuma's genitals as apparent inspiration.
Ayanda Mabulu's painting of Zuma dressed in traditional clothing with his genitals exposed went on display Monday night at a Cape Town art gallery.
In May, artist Brett Murray's controversial painting The Spear, featuring Zuma in a Lenin-like pose with his penis exposed, sparked mass protests.
The work was defaced soon after it went on show at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, and a South African newspaper removed an image of the painting from its website in response to threats from the ruling African National Congress party.
Mabulu's painting, titled Umshini Wam (Weapon of Mass Destruction), is part of an exhibition at the AVA Gallery called Our Fathers that also features work by Murray.
"Our Fathers engages the notion of patriarchy as an emotional economy, as well as a system that promulgates an unequal distribution of power," a gallery statement said.
The Cape Times notes that Mabulu is no stranger to controversy: a 2010 painting of the late white supremacist leader Eugene Terre’Blanche’s head on a tray was barred from an exhibition.
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Mabulu told the Times that Umshini Wam, priced at R75,000 (about $8,900), was a "respectful" depiction of Zuma.
“He is clothed in his culture. He is clothed in his manhood. Only a Eurocentric viewpoint would see him as naked," Mabulu said.
“He is not naked; I did not paint him with an uncircumcised penis. This is a metaphor that shows he is not a boy; he is a man, an elder, a father, a leader,” the artist added.
Mabulu dedicated the work to the victims of the recent Lonmin platinum mine tragedy.
“Through this painting I respectfully, as one of his children, ask my father why he is starving us, why he is negating his duties to his children, the citizens of South Africa," he said.
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Zuma, a Zulu traditionalist, follows polygamy under South African laws that allow only one civil union but multiple customary marriages.
The 70-year-old president has been married six times, and has four current wives. He has about 20 children in total, and in 2009 fathered a child out of wedlock.
Zuma was acquitted of rape charges in 2006, although he admitted to having unprotected sex with the woman, who he knew was HIV-positive. He testified that he took a shower after having sex with her in the belief this would reduce his chance of being infected with the virus that causes AIDS.
In 2008, the cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, known as "Zapiro," depicted the president with his pants down, about to rape a blindfolded female figure representing justice.