Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nurturing mother - with chameleons

I came across this column outside the Kramer Law building on Middle Campus at the University of Cape Town recently - a bronze done in 1996 by Bruce Arnott, entitled Alma Mater. I was very taken with the chameleon crawling up the side. The heritage trail brochure says of it "This sculpture of a female figure used as a supporting column is referred to as a caryatid and is often associated with classical Greek figurines. However, it is not exclusively a western figure, since it is known from China, ancient Persia, West Africa and the Congo, particularly in the art of the Luba people. This caryatid symbolically combines the twin roles of authority and responsibility. The phrase, Alma Mater (Latin: ‘nurturing mother’), is often used to denote a school or university, and here we see the emblems of learning being generously offered by the stylistically evolved caryatid figure. The chameleons represent historical process and transformation."


  1. Bruce Arnott, I knew the man. Remarkable artist. Chameleons are some of my favourite creautures. Also because of the significance attached to the process of transformation through history.

  2. Very interesting feature to the greater figure. Plus I love chameleons