A WOMAN FREE - EDWINA SANDYS
Featuring Edwina Sandys
Photography by Rose Callahan
Words by Simone Silverman
Edwina Sandys believes art should challenge, provoke and delight. And this talented artist has been doing just that throughout her impressive career.
In April of this year, I received a text from my friend Gigi Stoll excitedly telling me about the latest artist to join her organization, Two by Two Media. "We have taken on another artist. I'm mad about her work," followed by a link to Edwina Sandys. My first thought… she must be featured in Margot. I then immediately did what I call my "deep delve."
Edwina Sandys, the celebrated British-born artist, sculptor and author, has created dynamic, provocative works that address social issues, such as women's rights, environmental concerns, peace and freedom; however, serious subjects are approached with wit and beauty.
With an impressive body of work spanning five decades and living life with enthusiasm and creativity, it was challenging to know where to begin telling her story. How on earth would I be able to condense such a vast array of works, achievements, and zest for life into a single story?
She caused scandal with Christa, her bronze sculpture depicting a female Christ on the cross. For the United Nations Year of the Child in 1979, she created three monumental sculptures in different materials – Child in Carrara marble, Family in bronze, and Generations in aluminum, now installed at UN centers worldwide. The powerful Breakthrough, 1990 is another monumental sculpture made from eight sections of the Berlin Wall. How she came to be in possession of part of the wall is a story unto itself, typical of her life, which has been so closely intertwined with 20th-century history. We see whimsy and uninhibited humor in mixed media works such as Mad Money, 1976 and Window Shopping,1974.
I have not even begun to scratch the surface.
However, when photographer Rose Callahan and I entered Sandys's charming abode in New York's Gramercy Park, welcomed with a jubilant 'Hellooo' and a crown of fiery red hair, I knew this feature would take care of itself. The space, filled from top to bottom with books, prints, paintings, sculptures, and maquettes of her works, reveals her vibrant personality, humor, and passion for her craft. There is a lot of positive and negative, yin and yang, gravity and levity going on; a visual, thought-provoking treat is the only way to describe it.
Edwina Sandys, now 84, is good fun company. She asks everyone questions, is a great listener, laughs a lot, and then at times, is serious and reflective—all of this we see in her work.
We had entered the lighthearted but profound world of Edwina Sandys.
Exciting, engaging, and enticing. That's how I would describe my work.
Inspiration comes from the very core of me, expressing both strength and sensuality.
I work with whatever is at hand. When I am in Italy, I work with marble. When I am at the beach, I make a sandcastle.
I would like to see my Millennium Circle installed in a public space.
If there could only be one color, it has to be RED!
My proudest moments are when I made Christa, the female Christ, in bronze in 1975 and Woman Free in marble in 1989. Christa can be seen at St John the Divine, and Woman Free is at the United Nations Headquarters in Vienna.
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