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Thursday, October 20, 2011


Durban artist Deanne Donaldson pens her tribute to art lecturer, Dan Cook.

“I remember a lecture two days, or so, after Dan lost his father. It had a profound impact on me (all of 19 or 20 at the time) and, I’m sure, the rest of the class remembers it, too. He ditched the lecture he had prepared and spoke of his dad and his experience and sadness, saying something like: “It’s not possible to talk about expressionism, when my father has just passed away”. It was a beautiful honest tribute and I remember it more than any of his other lectures, immaculately prepared and always impactfully presented, though they were.

Dan taught me art history, for three years and supervised me in my fourth year of study at (then) Durban Technikon. That final year was filled with painting, writing, walks in Botanical Gardens, crumpets with the works, drafts being brought back for rewrites …(sometimes at 7 am..)..

He was exuberant; nurturing; encouraging; enthusiastic; obstinate. I don’t think I have met anyone who equals his passion for books, art, people, and things of beauty …. He drove me forward when I was exhausted, he listened, and cared. By the time I had finished with student life, he had become my friend. He opened my first show. He visited my family.

I have not seen Dan for some time. He was part of something intrinsic to me that was not diminished by living in different cities or speaking infrequently of late. His absence is palpable today. I am deeply grateful to him for more than I could possibly express and incredibly sad that he has left so soon.

Thank you, Dan. You will be so missed by so many who have known and loved you – Deanne Donaldson