UCT must immediately unban artworks

The DA will today write to University of Cape Town Vice-Chancellor, Dr Max Price, and Chairperson of Council of the University of Cape Town (UCT), Dr Sipho Pityana, to request that the University immediately unban the 75 or so artworks that have been removed from public display or covered up in the past year.
We also expect Price and Pityana to clarify the exact details of which artworks are on the “banning” list, and to name the 23 works of art that were destroyed through burning in February 2016.
The Groundup publication has provided a provisional listing of the banned artworks, and if this list is correct it vividly brings to life the sinister actions of the University. Some of South Africa’s most significant artists are included in the list, including Breyten Breytenbach, Christo Coetzee, Steven Cohen, Mia Couvaras, Pieter Hugo, Vusi Khumalo, Lucky Sibiya, Pippa Skotnes, Irma Stern and Sue Williamson.
Breytenbach yesterday spoke out against his works being banned in a scathing open letter.
Banning an artwork is just as bad as taking a book from a library and burning it. Such actions prevent students from critically engaging with arts and literature.
It is difficult to comprehend that one of our leading Universities, known for its commitment to openness and free speech, and dedicated to the support and curation of the creations of many of South Africa’s best artists, should have indulged this kind of censorship, akin to the censorship and banning of literature, film, theatre and art by the apartheid government.
It is entirely unsurprising that the great photographer David Goldblatt has decided that his priceless collection will no longer be housed by UCT. A shutdown of academic debate and artistic discourse is clearly afoot at UCT.
The DA urges the University to reverse the decisions of the Orwellian “Artworks Task Team” and to restore these works to their rightful place in the University’s buildings.