Durban sculptures defaced
Artist Andries Botha is hurt by the continued contempt against his three elephant sculptures, which remain neglected in Durban's city centre.
His lawyer, Toby Orford, yesterday said the latest act of vandalism worried Botha ahead of next month's court battle to force the eThekwini Municipality to protect the artwork.
One of the elephants was painted red this week.
"The red paint is obviously malicious damage [to property] and our position is that the city has a duty to take proper care of the sculpture if it is on its property.
''We say and will be saying in the court proceedings that the ongoing alleged neglect of the statues is evidence of the breach by the city of the obligation under section 20 of the Copyrights Act," Orford said.
In March, the city had agreed to an interim High Court order to protect the sculptures ahead of next month's court proceedings.
"We are working on an affidavit at the moment. That affidavit will probably be filed in court in about two weeks' time,'' Orford said.
Municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said the city was aware of the latest act of vandalism.
"At this stage we don't know who did it and what was the motive behind it, but we are conducting investigations to establish how it happened.
''We previously committed ourselves to have Metro police patrolling around the sculptures and that commitment stands," he said.
Social network users yesterday likened this week's vandalism to the defacing of Brett Murray's The Spear, when Barend la Grange used red paint to cover President Jacob Zuma's face and genitals in the portrait.
Botha was commissioned by the municipality to produce the massive elephants as part of a R500-million upgrading of Durban's new Warwick Avenue interchange.
But the R1.2-million centrepiece was removed by the metro's executive council after ANC members said it was "an IFP symbol".
The party's logo features three elephants. The court battle over the city's alleged breach of contract will also be heard next month.
"It will be a separate court matter but in essence we want the city to protect, save and preserve the three elephants. They have to protect the work of art under South African law," Orford said.
Two years ago, Botha's R3-million statue of King Shaka at Durban's new airport was removed when Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini complained that it made his great-grandfather look like a herd boy.