The portrait, by established Cape Town artist Brett Murray, went on display at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. Titled The Spear, it depicts President Jacob Zuma, in a Lenin pose, with his pants unzipped, exposing his member.
According to an article in The Times, the image, which forms part of an exhibition titled Hail to the Thief 11, has angered the ANC. The party has described it as "distasteful and vulgar" and have approached their lawyers "to compel" Murray and the Goodman Gallery to remove the portrait from the display and website and to destroy all promotional material.
Artist Lawrence Lemaoana agrees with the ANC that the portrait is below the belt and "disrespectful" to the President. He told The Times it was "a cheap shot at the president's groin".
According to IOL, the Goodman Gallery said Murray will not comment and will let the art “speak for itself”.
An image of the portrait was printed in City Press and displayed on its website. City Press Executive Editor Fikile Ntsikelelo-Moya said the newspaper would not be removing the portrait as demanded by the ANC.
“We will respond to court papers when served. The courts will make a decision and we’ll abide by the court ruling,” Moya told the Cape Argus.
The ANC have also instructed their lawyers to request City Press to remove the picture from its website. The work of art was sold for R136 000.