In a small way, my experience reflects Bruce’s particular brilliance – an experience many others, too, have shared – his provocative, challenging insights, at once providing critique, and the means to rethink one’s position in often surprising new ways.
Emeritus Professor Bruce Murray Arnott passed away in Cape Town on Friday 20 July, just short of his 80th birthday. He was a formidable sculptor and academic, who taught at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT between 1978 and his retirement in 2003, and continued his association as a postgraduate supervisor and examiner.
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.
Colleagues and friends remember Bruce Arnott and share how he had touched their lives professionally or personally; and sometimes even both.