Why minister walked out

ARTS and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana has defended her decision to leave a women's art exhibition at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg this week.

Xingwana was billed to deliver the keynote speech at the exhibition.

The minister walked out because she considered some of the artwork on display to be offensive to women.

"Reports on my presence at the Innovative Women art exhibition have been mischievous and misleading," Xingwana said.

"My reaction was guided by the view that the 'artworks' were not suitable for a family audience ."

The minister seemed to have been irked by photos taken by lesbian activist photographer Zanele Muholi, which depicted women in what appears to be a romantic embrace.

Xingwana has been heavily criticised by artists who see her act as homophobic behaviour.

The minister responded: "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."