Figurative sculptures modeled in clay stay at the forefront of Christy Symington’s (b. 1962) signature range of work made from ad hoc materials. Her focus on making sculptures of people hidden in our history brings their presence into our lives as well as highlighting historically significant legacies. They are often of people of colour and women who are much under-represented in sculpture, or virtually unknown. With in-depth research into their lives, she works equally attuned to the roots of Western-tradition figurative sculpture and drawing, as well as unusual material-driven pieces that are often shown with her figurative pieces, finding fresh contemporary cultural contexts, materials and processes. Visually the sculptures can be striking for fast attention to draw in, then discover and assign their lives to memory and further contemplation. The sculptures in the HEADS exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a New York painter and Olaudah Equiano, an author and abolitionist, span 20 years of her work.
Christy studied sculpture in Paris, New York and London. In Paris in 1996 she studied sculpture by day at Les Ateliers Beaux-Arts Glaciere, drawing most evenings at Montparnasse and anatomical drawing classes at Ecole des Beaux-Arts. 1997-2001 at the New York Studio School was a time of intensive figurative sculpture, of portraits and lifesize figures, working from life models with drawing being key, graduating with Merit Award for Sculpture. Returning to London she graduated from her MA in Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art in 2002. Previously Christy worked in advertising, television and 3D graphic design companies in London, Auckland and Sydney with travels in her twenties that took her backpacking around the world. Age 6 to 12 Christy lived in London with her mother who is a sculptor going with her to evening figure sculpture classes at Kensington and Chelsea. Her maternal grandmother went to the Slade School of Art in 1926 and at age 17 she was the youngest female to have a drawing accepted to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
In 2017 Christy’s sculpture of Olaudah Equiano was acquisitioned for the permanent collection of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool and is a highlight of its 10th Anniversary Exhibition. Solo exhibitions include Stephen Lawrence Centre in 2016 and 2015, Angel Orensanz Foundation NY and featured in the ‘Black Georgians’ exhibition at the Black Cultural Archives in 2016. She is a Member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors since 2002 and elected Board Director/Trustee from 2003-07. She was awarded a Fellowship residency at the Vermont Studio Center, USA. Exhibitions include Society of Portrait Sculptors, Threadneedle Prize, The National Arts Club NY (Paul Manship Award), Marist College NY, Freedom to Create Prize, Royal West of England Academy Sculpture Triennial, Pangolin London, The Great American Women’s Sculpture Park NY and Royal British Society of Sculptors Centenary exhibition, University of Leicester.
2016 SCULPTURE & SPOKEN WORD for STEPHEN LAWRENCE [13.9.74-22.4.93] with invited poets Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets and Caleb Femi Young People’s Laureate, Stephen Lawrence Centre Gallery, London 2015 OLAUDAH EQUIANO MAN AND BROTHER, Stephen Lawrence Centre Gallery, London 2012 AVRIL / SYMINGTON (with Pamela Avril) Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York 2007YoumanNeeds, Milton Gallery, St Paul’s School, London 2001 Sculpture at MRP, Mad River Post, Broadway, New York 1998 Sculpture Exhibition, Liz Christy Garden, Bowery-Houston, New York 1999 Sculptures & Drawings, Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the Arts, New York
Messum’s Wiltshire is a pioneering multi-purpose gallery and arts centre celebrating the creative endeavour.