Removal of artworks about curation‚ not censorship‚ says UCT

11 April 2016 - 21:52 By TMG Digital

The removal of artworks at the University of Cape Town is about curation and not censorship‚ says the university’s vice-chancellor Dr Max Price.

In a letter distributed to the campus community on Monday‚ Price said the removal of the art was intended to help create a process of inclusive engagement and discussion to help advance transformation in the area of art curation.

“It is important to understand that we are not censoring any artworks. Much of the negative public comment fails to recognise that current removals are provisional. It is our belief that the artworks will all ultimately be on display once curatorial policies have been developed‚” he stated.

“The University remains committed to enabling scholars and the public to engage with the most difficult and challenging works‚ including those presently under discussion‚ and many others that may arrive in the future. What is currently at issue is not whether this should be done‚ but how.

“The decision to cover and take down some works is motivated by two concerns: the first is to signal that we have started a process of debate and discussion about how works of art should be displayed on campus‚ and that we will respond to this debate with seriousness and urgency.

“The second is in recognition of our custodial obligation to protect our art collection‚ especially those works of art that have become controversial (whether for good reason or not)‚ noting that in the absence of an art gallery‚ almost all of UCT’s art is displayed in public spaces. This is necessary while we conduct the discussions about how and where these works should be displayed‚” Price added.