Iona and Bruce Arnott

A friendship, collaboration and celebration

Centaur Man and Centaur Woman

Rozy and Andrew Gunn next to Punch

One Man Band wine by Iona

One Man Band wine by Iona

Rigorously high standards of education at Michaelis

I first met Bruce Arnott in 1987 as a third year sculpture student at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. After completing my undergraduate degree, I was then fortunate enough to have him supervise my Master's degree for a further three years. Bruce was a man of few words but of rigorously high standards. This education was to have a profound effect on how I would approach most of what I have endeavoured to do in all fields since then.

Bruce’s sculptures at Iona

In an age of increasing mediocrity I have only to cast an eye over Bruce's work here at Iona to know that there are still pockets of excellence. The craft, the attention to detail, the intelligence, the relevance, the importance of all these works, cannot be confused with "just more stuff".

Centaur Woman and Centaur Man

The Bruce and Iona story "began" more than 16 years ago. Following the death of my husband I was in the market for a grave stone. Three months previously I had been to an exhibition of Bruce's work at the Association of Art in Church Street in Cape Town and admired his work enormously but had not given it much further thought. I never imagined that I would have the means to actually own one. In my changed circumstances, I hit on the brilliant idea of buying a bronze instead of a piece of granite to commemorate Derek's life. It was to rekindle my contact with Bruce and the start of a tradition which included meeting for long lunches with Bruce further brushing up my education on all matters art and matters intelligent.

Punch II

When I introduced Andrew to Bruce and his work, he showed as much enthusiasm as I did with the added benefit of actually having the means to pay for it. Over the years we collected some small pieces but my 40th Birthday marked the acquisition of a seminal piece of work for me – Punch, the bronze now in our garden. It was at this time that Andrew came across another of Bruce's works, One Man Band, and in fact for a while couldn't decide between the two pieces. He often mentioned after buying Punch that there was something about the One Man Band that still fascinated him. And this was to bring about the collaboration between ourselves and Bruce, of wine and art.

One Man Band and the collaboration of art and wine

For years I had admired what Mouton Rothchild had done with their premium label which was to include an artist of the times (and not any old riff raff I might add – but a serious superstar which included the likes of Miro, Chagall, Picasso to name but a few). Andrew and I had often spoken of the possibility of doing something with an artist but somehow the right image and the right artist and the right wine eluded us. It was when we were trying to think of something to call our new blend, that I muttered something about how all Bruce's work had such great names, so pertinent and potent, yet at the same time humorous and modest. It was then that all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

The level of commitment, the search for perfection and the constant revisiting of possible solutions has been fantastic fun, invigorating and wholly inspiring.

The result was the purchase of Bruce's bronze sculpture One Man Band, and creating an illustrated adaptation thereof for the label of our red blend of the same name. The One Man Band label is a potent graphic image and stunningly references the original art work.

Pursuing excellence with no compromise

Collaborating with Bruce and his wife Mari over the past years has been a reaffirmation for me that there is still sense in pursuing excellence with no compromise. I speak for Andrew and myself when I say that our association with the Arnott family has been a very proud one for us. The level of commitment, the search for perfection and the constant revisiting of possible solutions has been fantastic fun, invigorating and wholly inspiring.


Raising Sheep


"The terms 'paradox and 'metaphrase' in the title describe opposing energies (inspiration and deliberation) that have shaped my creative work over the past fifty years – where 'paradox' allows the existence of the contradictory (the Metaphysical and the Poetic); and 'metaphrase' refers to the translation of paradox into the logical and rational (Poetry into Prose)." – BRUCE ARNOTT, 2013

Conjuria at IONA

"Arnott’s work poetically describes a rich arc of historical, mythological and literary worlds welding past to possible futures … This is a series with a singular relationship to its time." – KIM GURNEY, 2012

Punch II

Centaur Man and Centaur Woman

Celebration of his Life, at Iona