Art gallery faces 'F*** White People' lawsuit

Dean Hutton’s F*** White People exhibition at the Iziko National Gallery in the city centre. Picture: Henk Kruger

Dean Hutton’s F*** White People exhibition at the Iziko National Gallery in the city centre. Picture: Henk Kruger

Published May 28, 2017


Cape Town - The Iziko South African National Gallery is caught in another bitter dispute: this time facing a lawsuit over the gallery’s F*** White People exhibit which the Cape Party claims is an incitement of racial hatred.

The case was postponed on Friday and rescheduled for June 2.

The gallery was criticised by organisations and sex-worker advocacy groups for exhibiting the work of convicted artist Zwelethu Mthethwa, who was found guilty of murdering sexworker Nokuphila Kumalo on May 16.

The party wants the gallery to be charged with contravening hate speech laws and has demanded that it pay a R150 000 fine. The complainant, in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, also demands that the gallery removes the exhibit and issues a public apology “for the harm caused”.

In January, the party staged a protest in the gallery by placing an adhesive square sticker over the exhibit, saying “Love Thy Neighbour”.

In a video posted by the party on their YouTube channel, titled “F*** White People vs Love Thy Neighbour”, members of the he party are seen wrestling with the gallery’s security.

The exhibit is accompanied by a written explanation stating why white people should be “f***ed”.

The exhibition was created by artist Dean Hutton, who is a white “gender-queer”.

A case of hate speech was opened by Tshepo Lebopo with the Human Rights Commission in September; since then the exhibit has received considerable public attention, drawing condemnation from a number of organisations.

Cape Party leader Jack Miller slammed the gallery, saying he is “calling on the court to condemn this exhibit as blatant hate speech and have the offensive poster removed”.

According to Miller, the party opened a criminal case against Iziko with the SAPS in December, and to date “nothing has been done”.

In the respondent’s answering affidavit, Rooksana Omar, chief executive of Iziko Museums, said the complainant is political grandstanding and seeking publicity.

“The work is clearly not a contravention of the Act. The work and the exhibition are designed to enhance critical debate on issues of race and discrimination, which it clearly has.

Weekend Argus

Related Topics: