CHRIS THURMAN: Struggling artists face tough ethical choices over politicians’ support, less so celebrities
There are lots of grey areas here. Each case is unique. As always in matters of ethics, the key consideration is power — status, money, popularity and influence
Last week, I wrote about the limited forms of support, financial and otherwise, that the government provides to SA’s artists, and the disappointingly pedestrian (or simply utilitarian) positions adopted by its major political parties on the arts. Everyone in the arts community would like more public and private money spent on and in the creative economy; no doubt most would also like to see it distributed more evenly. Yet on those occasions when politicians do decide to offer their patronage, problems inevitably arise. From the performing arts (think of Sarafina 2) to the visual arts (the painting of Nelson Mandela that sold for R4m at an ANC fund raiser, or the time Humphrey Mmemezi used his work credit card at a McDonald’s to, um, buy artwork for his office), we have come to expect corruption scandals in this sector to differ from those in energy or finance only in degree, but not in kind. If artists want to be ethical when earning income for their talents, there are some tough de...