Nelson Mandela on the autopsy table – indignation in Pretoria

A painting that depicts Nelson Mandela on an autopsy table caused outrage on Saturday to South African ruling party, although the author argues that he wanted only to bring a tribute to the former president.

Damaso Yuill’s work presents Mandela dead, lying on an autopsy table, under the eyes of South African political figures.

The painting, exhibited in a gallery in Johannesburg, provoked outrage in the political arena. “ANC is deeply shocked and firmly condemns the painting entitled “Mandela dead” said a statement of South African ruling party.

“It’s distasteful, disrespectful and an insult to our society values” say ANC adding that this painting is “racist” and pointing out that many South Africans consider the a dead man in a painting as an act of witchcraft.

Damaso Yuill claims that he had no intention of offending Mandela. The painting shows “Mandela’s flesh and bones, which proves he is a man, like all of us,” he said, for the Saturday Star newspaper. “He has done great things, has a huge national and international influence, but the picture reminds that he is an ordinary man”, said the artist.

The painting, inspired by The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp by Rembrandt (1632), presents the Nkosi Johnson, who became a symbol of the fight against AIDS, but also Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize, President Jacob Zuma, the former President Thabo Mbeki and the opposition leader Helen Zilla.

Mandela, who face many health problems, will do 92 years on July 18. He rarely appeared in public lately, and his presence at the World Cup final on Sunday is still uncertain.

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