Johannesburg - Opening arguments between the Goodman Gallery and the Film and Publications Board (FPB) on the classification of “The Spear” painting were heard on Monday morning, the gallery said.

Gallery lawyer Greg Palmer said both the FBP and the gallery presented their arguments to an appeal tribunal.

The parties would return after lunch to be questioned on their positions by appeal tribunal chairman Karthy Govender.

“They might have a decision by the end of the day, but it depends on circumstances,” Palmer said.

The FPB classified “The Spear” with a rating of 16N in July. This meant children under the age of 16 should not have access to the painting because it displays nudity.

The gallery's lawyers contend the classification of the artwork was “impermissible and unsustainable”.

“The Spear”, painted by Cape Town-based artist Brett Murray, depicted President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

The FPB ruled that its classification committee had the necessary jurisdiction to classify the painting, even though it had since been defaced.

The lawyers argued that the FPB had no jurisdiction to classify an original artwork that had been defaced and removed from public exhibition. - Sapa