Is UCT justified in taking down artworks that could cause offence?
Is it obscuring history and infringing freedom of expression?
In February this year, the University of Cape Town (UCT) released a statement saying that veteran photographer David Goldblatt had decided to withdraw his eponymous collection from the university’s Libraries Special Collections and move it to Yale University in the US. The statement noted that Goldblatt "could not be persuaded out of his view that freedom of expression, artistic freedom and rights of artists were no longer protected at UCT". Goldblatt’s decision was a reaction to UCT’s decision to take down or cover up more than 70 artworks displayed on campus that were considered to be potentially offensive to students. His action, broadly understood, is a gesture of protest; but there’s possibly something less monumental mixed in too, like pique, and pragmatism. "I am not an activist and I am not interested in politics," says Goldblatt. "I completely disagree with the policy at UCT and to have left my work in the collection there would have been tantamount to endorsing that policy...