The nexus between arts, morality, ethics and law has been a complicated subject among showbiz people and the general public.
Art is best communicated and appreciated when it is not hobbled with any strings. Creativity they say thrives in freedom – but the freedom is relative to the society.
Nude Art predates medieval times
In primordial arts, nudity was actually a major communicative art form that gained currency in the drawings of Michelangelo and his contemporaries, and has been used to express ideals of male and female beauty and other human qualities. Nude art is actually art!
However, the creative artist should be ready to receive flak from the general public who view their art work with an eye of morality, ethics or law.
The Morality argument
Morality is subjective and relative to society; and since every art work is done within a particular area that has people with shared beliefs, ideologies, norms and mores, we examine this topic in the context of the Ghanaian society.
In Ghana, it is immoral for people to go naked or show sensual parts of their bodies to the public. Society will not forgive you for exposing your body to the public. Indecent exposure is largely determined by ‘the people’ and not one’s artistic licence.
In Ghana for example, artists like Mzbel, Lord Paper & Nana Yaa, Ebony, Tiffany, Afia Schwarzenegger, Ada, Deborah Vanessa, Wanluv da Kubolor, Mensa, Moesha Boudong among others, have been seriously castigated by the public for going naked or near-naked in their photos or videos.
For weeks, these nudes had become the subject matter of most conversations especially on radio, television and social media.
The Western world has its own share of celebrity nude pictures. Mention can be made of Kim Kardashian, Meagan Good, Jennifer Lawrence, Gabrielle Union, Rihanna, Serena William and others as celebrities who have had their nude pictures in the public domain.
The recent one in Ghana is actress Christabel Ekeh whose nude pictures have already gone viral on social media and other traditional media platforms.
While she is being bashed for exposing her body in her photos, she has actually come out to say that her nude pictures are to announce the new ‘her.’ She’s the only one who knows what she really seeks to achieve.
People have even suggested she is prayed for or given psychological help but she says everything is okay with her.
Legal implications of publishing nude pictures
I am not sure most of our nude-maniac celebrities know that there are laws that regulate publication or sharing of obscene materials including nude photos and pornography.
Ghana’s Criminal Code bars people from publishing or offering for sale, any material that has the tendency to deprave societal morals. Any publication that is unnecessarily and improperly calculated to excite passions or corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences can be held for promoting obscenity.
Having in one’s possession, putting into circulation or publicly exhibiting obscene drawings, prints, posters, photographs or any other related obscene objects are all components of obscenity as spelt out in the law. In this wise, downloading indecent materials and images from such as Christabel Ekeh’s nude pictures from the internet, is a criminal offence.
It is also worthy of note that possession of obscene materials is criminal offence, whether or not there is intent to circulate it to other people.
If for the purposes of trading or sale in obscene publication, any person imports, conveys or exports materials related to obscenity, that person also commits a criminal offence.
So Christabel Ekeh can be arrested for splashing her nude pictures on social media!
Much ado about ‘something’
Show business comprises two things – show and business. Most of these slay queens masquerading as celebrities have business intents of what they do.
Recently, American tennis player, Serena Jameka Williams published nude pictures of hers on social media and it also gone viral. But wait! Her nude pictures were for a purpose – she did them as cover picture for Vanity Fair magazine. Deals like this bring money.
In Ghana, even though most of these nudes we’ve seen may not have really raked in direct monies for the owners, they have consequently marketed their brands in various degrees.
Some of them have capitalised on the buzz and controversy to sell their brands to prospective buyers. Even though I don’t support using nudity to sell one’s brand, I’ll be playing the ostrich to assume that Ghanaian music Ebony’s eroticism has not contributed to her sudden rise in the music industry. She is benefiting from it now even though its rippling effect in the future bode ill. So have others of her ilk.
Let’s not quickly conclude that people that publish their nude pictures have mental disorders. They do all that for ‘something.’
However, we must all be aware of the fact that there are limits to everything – and that, there are laws that regulate some of these activities.
You may beat society’s morality to express your art but when the law grabs you, you would know your real measure.
By: Kwame Dadzie/citifmonline.com/Ghana