We remember

13 April 2009

Cecil Skotnes, supreme South African artist whose pioneering African modernism inspired many of this county's leading artists, died after a short illness at the age of 82.

He received honorary degrees from Rhodes University, the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Cape Town.

He exhibited prolifically both locally and internationally including representing South Africa many times at the prestigious Venice and Sao Paulo Biennale.

His countless awards for art include the Order of Ikhamanga (Gold). As a young man he saw service in the South African Army Italian Campaign.

He ended up in Florence, where he remained after the Allies' victory to study painting under Heinrich Steiner.

On returning to South Africa he completed a BA Fine Arts at the University of Witwatersrand. His experience of war and subsequent exposure to the magnificence of Italian Renaissance art must have forever shaped his passions for beauty, justice, good wine, generosity of spirit and hospitality.

These values guided a full life that touched many, including staff and students at the Michaelis School of Art where he occasionally taught, to the delight of students.

His prolific multi-media output includes prints, paintings, incised painted woodblocks, graffito murals and commissioned works in seminaries and churches.

It is safe to say that no single artist influenced late twentieth-century South African art as profoundly as he.

Besides being active as an artist, it was as an educator that he freed the creative spirit of many oppressed during the height of apartheid.

He is survived by his wife Thelma, son John and daughter Pippa (Professor at UCT's Michaelis School of Fine Art).

A memorial service will be held at the South African National Gallery in the Gardens, Cape Town, at 14h30 for 15h00 on Tuesday, 14 April.

UCT alumnus William Ritchie passed away on Thursday, 2 April. Ritchie, a retired partner of architecture firm, Revel Fox & Partners, was a key player in the development of UCT's Kramer Building, among others.

Since his retirement, Ritchie was a member of UCT's Building & Development Committee. He is survived by his wife, Joce Kane Berman, a member of Council for many years.

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