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Mitzi Cunliffe: An American in Manchester

Mitzi Cunliffe at work in her studio, 1955.

Mitzi Cunliffe: An American in Manchester

A talk and conversation to commemorate the centenary of the ‘Sculptor for Architecture’

2.30pm on Saturday 30 June, free.

Professor Ann Sumner and Antonia Cunliffe Davis

Ann Sumner will introduce the work of Mitzi Cunliffe, designer of the iconic BAFTA trophy mask, created while the artist was living in Manchester in the 1950s. She will trace her career from her early years in New York, through to her commissions for the Festival of Britain in 1951 and her art works for Liverpool and Leeds universities. The city is fortunate to have a number of important works by her: Threshold at Manchester High School for Girls, the Heaton Park Pumping Station relief (Grade 11 listed), Man and Technics: Fire and the Wheel for Wythenshawe West Secondary Technical School (now Manchester Health Academy) and the dramatic fibreglass Cosmos I wall sculptures at Owens Park, University of Manchester.

The talk coincides with the installation of a commemorative plaque on the house in Didsbury which was her home and studio (located in the former garage). The lecture will be followed by an informal discussion between Ann Sumner and the artist’s daughter Antonia, who recalls life while in Manchester and offers a personal perspective on her mother’s achievements as a sculptor.

Professor Ann Sumner is currently researching Cunliffe’s life and work and curated the exhibition on her in Leeds in 2016. She is a former Head of Fine Art at the National Museum of Wales, Director of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and Head of Cultural Engagement at the University of Leeds, with a special interest in public art. Antonia Cunliffe Davis studied architecture and has worked as curator, designer and consultant in the visual arts and design.

Organised in collaboration with the Twentieth Century Society NW Group

The talk is free and open to all. Booking is preferred but not essential: