Arts and Culture Minister
Lulu Xingwana

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Lulu Xingwana, has denied that her recent walkout of an art exhibition was motivated by homophobia.

In a statement, Xingwana described media reports on the incident at the Innovative Women exhibition in Johannesburg as “mischievous, deliberately misleading and avoiding the facts”.

She said that her reaction to the photographic images – which she described as “crude misrepresentations of women” – at the exhibition “was guided by the view that these ‘artworks’ were not suitable for a family audience”, adding that she noticed that there were children as young as three in the room.

“I was not aware of the sexual orientation of the pictures or the artists and my reaction was not based on anti-gay sentiments as implied in some media reports on the matter,” said Xingwana.

“I …would not, for any reason, be part of any tendencies that undermine the rights of people. I accept and respect the rights of people of different sexual orientation. The claims that I am homophobic are baseless and insulting to me,” said the minister.

She added that she had “not imposed censorship on any artists and the funding polices of my Ministry and Department are very clear”.

Finally, Xingwana called for a “long overdue debate” on what is art and where the line between art and pornography should be drawn.

“South Africans last engaged in such a debate before the democratic era. It is time that we open this discussion in the context of moral regeneration, social cohesion and nation building,” she concluded.

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