Gallery cancels 'shocking' exhibit
Cape Town - The exhibition of a student artist has been pulled from a Franschhoek gallery after she posed nude and tore pages from a Bible, The Cape Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Celeste Coetzee shocked onlookers by going naked as part of her art installation at the Unisa Final Year Student Exhibition at The Gallery at Grande Provence in Franschhoek. Coetzee, who was making a statement about the suffering of women in a patriarchal society, had also used the exhibition to criticise evangelist and Faith Like Potatoes author Angus Buchan.
Coetzee refused to comment on Monday, saying she would respond to e-mailed questions within a few days.
The Gallery's curator, Carina Bekker, decided to remove Coetzee's work from the exhibition, saying the information the artist gave her about her work "didn't relate to what she did".
It had been agreed that Coetzee would pose inside her installation, bare-breasted and wearing just a skirt. She instead arrived for the opening dressed in traditional Voortrekker clothing.
Bekker said Coetzee had intended to look vulnerable, but looked "scary", and distorted the meaning of the work.
On Wednesday and Thursday last week she had posed nude inside the installation.
"She went from the one opposite to the other opposite."
It was because of these "inconsistencies" that the installation had been cancelled, Bekker said.
Photographs show Coetzee seated on a stool, wearing a traditional Voortrekker style hat and stockings with her hands clutched in her lap.
She appeared to be seated in an old-fashioned kitchen, among potatoes, with messages on the wall behind her. One such message read: "Wives, respect your husbands, submit to your husbands."
She also tore pages from a Bible. "I am completely against tearing pages out of the Bible. I will not tolerate that she tore pages out of the Bible," Bekker said.
The gallery had received a lot of "negative feedback" from members of the public.
"As a gallery, that's not the message we want to portray. She's very negative to the old Afrikaner, Christian patriarchal system. She was trying to be the vulnerable woman suffering under the system. But women are not under that system anymore."
Bekker said it was women who had been offended by Coetzee’s installation.