Professor Ann Sumner will examine the career of American sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe in the 1950s. During this period, Cunliffe designed the famous BAFTA trophy, participated in the Festival of Britain and was commissioned to create Man-Made Fibres for the University of Leeds Campus career.
This year the University of Leeds is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Man-Made Fibres, one of Cunliffe's most important sculptures of the period. The iconic piece of public art, sculpted from Portland stone, was created especially for the opening of a new building, also called Man-Made Fibres, now the Clothworkers' South building. The sculpture features two monumental hands with a striking weave motif cradled between them, reflecting the exciting developments in synthetic fibres that the new building represented.
The 1950s also saw another milestone in Cunliffe's career- her contribution to the Festival of Britain. She was one of six women sculptors participating in the Festival of Britain in 1951, and items from this will be on display including the original maquette (preliminary model) for Root Bodied Forth, on loan from Leeds Museums & Galleries and the original Push and Pull handles from a private collection.
Professor Ann Sumner is Head of Cultural Engagement at the Cultural Institute, University of Leeds, and previously headed up the Public Art Project at the University of Leeds. Ann has a wealth of curatorial and cultural management experience, having begun her career at the National Portrait Gallery, she became Head of Fine Art at the National Museum of Wales, and Director of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and Barber Professor of Fine Arts and Curatorial Practice, University of Birmingham. She is the strategic lead for the Yorkshire Year of the Textile programme,
This event is part of the Cultural Institute's autumn public lectures series, which showcases new research with partners at the University of Leeds. The talk is free and will include refreshments.