Prior to it being vandalized, The Spear was shown at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa. The painting featured as one of the pieces of artist Brett Murray’s Hail to the Thief II exhibition. Inspiration is understood to have been drawn from the Victor Ivanov poster Lenin Lived, Lenin is Alive, Lenin Will Live. The exhibition features various pieces that are critical of South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC, showcasing sculptures and images that suggest corruption and bad governance.
Murray’s works in the exhibition also include modifying ANC liberation struggle posters and flyers from theApartheid era, some displaying the text “Amandla, we demand Chivas, BMWs and bribes”.
The painting has drawn particularly strong condemnation from ANC rulers and various religious groups, who found the painting ‘obscene’ and ‘vulgar’
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