Bruce Murray Arnott – sculptor, researcher, educator, curator and designer – was born in Highflats, KwaZulu-Natal. He studied at the Michaelis School of Fine Art (University of Cape Town) and the Courtauld Institute of Art (London).
He worked at the South African National Gallery as Assistant Director and taught at the University of Cape Town where he was a Professor of Fine Art, Director of the Michaelis School of Fine Art, and was a University Life Fellow and Emeritus Professor.
He was interested in Western and African art and published and exhibited mainly in South Africa.
Iziko Museums of South Africa salutes the memory of Bruce Arnott – a great South African sculptor, curator and mentor in the fine arts – who was a key figure in the history of the Iziko South African National Gallery. He was an influential sculptor who made an impression on generations of students at UCT's Michaelis School of Fine Art.
News about the death of one of South Africa's foremost sculptors, Bruce Arnott, sent me straight to his Alma Mater, a goddess-like Caryatid figure atop a tall column. But the telling detail – and in Arnott's work, there is always a telling detail – is the chameleon perched triumphantly atop her headdress.
Bruce will be sorely missed but his extraordinary legacy remains. His far-sighted vision for art on and of the African continent affirm him as an advocate of change, ahead of his time.
Bruce Arnott’s bronze The Citizen completes the JAG Centenary Commemorative medallions set, which is a collaboration between the Friends of JAG and the South African Mint where a percentage of the proceeds from the medallions will help bolster the Friends’ fundraising initiatives, and help supporting the Gallery.