After the attack on world acclaimed photographer David Goldblatt, KZN artist Andries Botha has called on the city to protect its investments funded by public money.
In an e-mail to the Daily News, Botha said the attack on Goldblatt and film-maker Clifford Bestall, in Warwick Triangle last Monday was a familiar story about crime in Durban.
The two were setting up their equipment to capture images of Botha’s unfinished elephant sculptures when they were attacked by three men.
Bestall was robbed of his expensive video camera.
Goldblatt, 83, received medical treatment after one of the robbers, grappling for his camera, bit one of his hands down to the bone.
“Criminals are putting ordinary citizens at risk in public places.
Golblatt and Bestall have now become crime statistics,” said Botha.
“I am sad that an artist of Goldblatt’s profile leaves this beautiful city under these unfortunate circumstances... especially when we are all working hard to promote Durban as a dynamic destination.”
Asked if the elephant statues should be moved to a safer location, Botha said it would alter their meaning.
The creation of the elephants at the “gateway” to the city, formed part of the original conceptual submission to the the municipality.
Security in the Warwick area was no different to other areas in the city with respect to crime.
“The elephants are as vulnerable or safe in Warwick as they might be in any other public space in Durban,” he said.
“The creative and geographic location defined the intellectual property of the work. Choosing to place a monumental work of art in an area as commercially and humanly active as the Warwick triangle acknowledged and celebrated the significance of this area.”
He said the Warwick area once teemed with elephants.
“The elephants ‘rising out of the earth’ acknowledged the need for some sort of principle of regeneration at the site of the ‘killing’ of the last free elephant,” Botha said.
He called on the city to protect its investments which were funded by public money.
“The public needs to enjoy the sites in which they have invested. I imagine that the city invests money on art and other public resources to embellish the social and cultural fabric and image of the city.
“Also to make these resources available to the public for their recreational, spiritual and intellectual pleasure,” Botha said.
It was clear that visitors were not safe should they wish to visit the site, he said.