Jilly Cunningham is a sculptor whose work has been shortlisted by The National Portrait Gallery and exhibited in galleries throughout London, Cambridge and Portugal. High profile clients include Jools Holland, Benjamin Zephaniah, Ken Livingstone, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Jo Brand and Bert Jansch.
Jilly’s work has been featured in British and Portuguese national newspapers, including The Independent. Her Mother & Child Revisited MMX1V sculpture was recently celebrated by Mike Scialom of the Cambridge News, which had previously reported on the exhibition of the sculpture at Cambridge Airport.
Jilly Cunningham was born in London of Anglo-Hungarian parents. She studied sculpture at Hammersmith’s College of Art at age 18, before working as an Art Therapist in Tooting Bec Psychiatric Hospital. She became fascinated by the connection between art and psychology, splitting her time between the hospital and taking private commissions.
Jilly began creating sculpture portraits from sittings, using her life casting process to “steal” the magical essence of the personality, and boldly display the man/woman behind the “mask.”
She embarked upon her Cultural Legends series, commissioned to make sculpture portraits of many famous faces, including Jools Holland, Ken Livingstone, Benjamin Zephaniah, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Bernie Grant, to name a few.
Always a restless and inquisitive artist, after completing the Cultural Legends series she flew to Portugal to work in a remote mountain village in the Algarve. She was swiftly commissioned to make a sculpture for an Algarvian library but also spent two years discovering and mastering the new and challenging techniques of Kiln-formed glass. Jilly experimented with glass, producing a strange and unearthly collection of glass heads.
Now based in Cambridgeshire, Jilly continues her artistic journey. Her portrait of Benjamin Zephaniah was shortlisted by The National Portrait Gallery for their Private Sculpture Collection in 2013. In 2016, Jilly was the only sculptor invited to exhibit at the Cambridge International Airport launch exhibition with her Mother & Child Revisited MMX1V mosaic. The sculpture can be viewed at its new home in the new atrium at Morden College, Blackheath, from 2018.
Jilly is currently exhibiting at Williams Art and Darryl Nantais Gallery in Cambridge. Her collection of mosaics were recently exhibited at The National Glass Fair in Birmingham and at the 2017 Cambridge Open Studios.
Jilly will next exhibit at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull on 12th November and at the Cambridge Woodyard from 8-10th December.