UP lecturer and sculptor receives honorary doctorate from Unisa

Posted on April 23, 2024

The University of South Africa (Unisa) recently conferred an honorary doctorate on part-time University of Pretoria (UP) lecturer and sculptor Dr Angus Taylor in recognition of his artwork over the years. He graduated with a BA in Fine Arts in 1996 from UP and was awarded an alumni laureate in 2005.

“It was an honour to be recognised for my work,” Dr Taylor said. “My mother studied arts at Unisa, and what made this honour even greater was that I could share the news with her two weeks before her passing, for which I am grateful. If people recognise your efforts, it only strengthens your resolve to continue doing your best, and it propels you to want to do more.”

Dr Taylor started lecturing part-time at UP during his second-year as a student. He is also a director at a sculpture workshop where he practises as a sculptor and an artist. Four large sculptures of his are featured at the University, and he has donated three of his early stone sculptures to UP.

Dr Angus Taylor

Interestingly, studying fine art wasn’t part of Dr Taylor plans.

“I really did not want to study art because I grew up uncomfortably in our family home with two creatives,” he recalls. “My father was a journalist and my mother a painter. Ultimately, I gave up and came to the then unnerving conclusion that art was my future.”

He says academic approval is quite the opposite of commercial success, which makes this accolade important to him.

“Although all worlds are interlinked, I could not have grown as an artist by making ‘things’ without selling them. I would have run dry financially. I expect that the academic accolade will add intrinsic value to the sculptures that I do make as that is  also dependent on external valuation of the work. I do not determine the value, either intrinsically or even commercially, but the greater democratic outside world does.”

Dr Taylor views education as an aid in the expansion of understanding and in the depth of experience rather than as a prerequisite for intelligence.

“Education is the difference between being obtuse or erudite, short-sighted or open-minded, ignorant and convinced or educated and uncertain,” he says.

- Author Xolani Mathibela

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