Storing-away art seems to be 2016’s version of the 1980’s media censorship. Every painting quietly and discreetly removed is another confession of the University of Cape Town’s failure to stand up to transparent debate. Each sets a precedent for the future – that art no longer play a role in education.
From the information that has been provided by our eyes and ears at UCT, the selection committee for the removal of these artworks is not suitable for the task. Without training in Art History or guidance for interpreting the subtle and complex nature of the works, these individuals – endorsed by Max Price – have been allowed to make uneducated decisions. That the vast majority of students enjoy and are stimulated by UCT’s art collection has not been considered in their evaluations. The fundamental inadequacy can be compared to a fancy car without a motor inside it.
Why stop at art? Surely we should treat all the arts with an equal measure. More offence might be taken if literature was censored to the same degree. The time has come to open debate and open minds, for those who don’t read the explanatory tags on the painting to seek out meaning and integration of ideas. Surely this is what University is about – not censoring thought, but promoting it.
Images: Blank spaces where artworks used to hang in UCT’s library