A SCHOOL in South Africa has become embroiled in a row over a pupil’s ‘demonical’ art exhibition that depicted Jesus as a clown – and almost reduced a pastor to tears.
Quick to enter the fray was the Freedom Front Plus party, created provide a political home for white, conservative Afrikaners. Its education spokesperson, Wynand Boshoff, above, has demanded to know why images of “clown” Jesus and demons were put on show at the Richards Bay’s Grantleigh Curro school exhibition, while it’s forbidden to exhibit the old apartheid regime’s flag.
Boshoff said in a statement:
The FF Plus shares the shocked sentiments of Christian groups in response to the artworks of a learner at the Curro school.
He added that in the run-up to a democratic government in 1994, the FF Plus endeavoured to promote group rights, which created a space for cultural and religious communities to maintain and express their convictions.
Education and training are particularly important in this context. The then-[National Party] and [Democratic Party], however, preferred the radical individualism of the liberal constitutional state. In pursuance of this ideology, it is not only education in Afrikaans that is being eroded, but also education with a Christian foundation.
The party intends monitoring developments around the controversy, and re-emphasised its commitment to education and training of a Christian nature.
The Apostolic Faith Mission pastor who set off alarm bells over the exhibition was Andrew Anderson, above, father of a pupil at the school.
Anderson has called for a protest over the work, which includes a picture of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper with dollar signs on the lintel behind Jesus and torn pages from the Bible placed on the torso of a horned sculpture. The choked up pastor, who videoed the “blasphemous” exhibits, said:
My God is no clown. It felt like we were crucifying Jesus all over again. Everything is demonic powers, demonic things being displayed. You can feel the demons, you can feel the presence of this evil spirit. I thought this can’t be. This can’t be right.
He also believes that works like these contribute to societal problems such as murder and divisions, and will also cause “seemingly inexplicable problems” at the school.
The artist’s name was not immediately available, but the Zululand Observer reported that the pupil explained the artwork:
Demonstrates organised religion’s preoccupation with making money and its exploitation of those with blind faith.
Anderson’s video, posted to Facebook, set off a flurry of comments condemning the school, which responded with a statement that said:
Curro are cognisant of the allegations made on social media and the matter is currently subject to an internal investigation. Curro reiterates that comments made about the school, the artwork and the learner are not an accurate reflection of our school and the situation referred to, and we reserve the right to withhold comment until the internal investigation has concluded.
It said the group does adopt a Christian ethos, with the values of the Christian faith upheld.
Curro accordingly welcomes, values and respects members of staff and learners from different faiths, with their accompanying views.
But while welcoming comment and discussion, it would:
Not condone cyber bullying, religious intolerance, hate speech, derogatory language, misrepresentation and comments reflecting negatively on the Curro brand on any social media pages.