Jamaican-born sculptor Ronald Moody is one of the most significant artists of the 20th century and yet, there have not been any comprehensive exhibitions or monographs of his work to date.
This major exhibition, guest curated by Moody specialist Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski working together with Eleanor Clayton, The Hepworth Wakefield’s Senior Curator, will explore the development of Moody’s art as well as his contribution and impact on British and international art history.
The exhibition will bring together over 50 Moody works from large-scale figurative sculptures made in wood in the 1930s through to post-war experimentation with concrete and resin casting. These works will be set within the context of his contemporaries Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, artists he exhibited alongside such as Eileen Agar and his friend Jacob Epstein, as well as the group known as the Caribbean Artists Movement of which Moody was a founding member.
Sculpting Life will also include his broader creative endeavours such as poetry, writings and audio broadcasts that he turned to at the advent of the Second World War in which he discusses his artistic influences. This archive section will be presented in a specially commissioned installation by Sheffield-based artist Kedisha Coakley.
The first major book on Moody – exploring his legacy and impact through his key artistic relationships, networks and influences, and his relationship with nature, humanity and spirituality – will be published by Thames & Hudson in association with The Hepworth Wakefield on the occasion of the exhibition.
Kedisha Coakley lived most of her life in London, moving to Sheffield 14 years ago where she lives and works with her two children. Her practice spans sculpture, photography, predominantly printmaking with braided hair, and casting in bronze, through which she interrogates Black histories and experiences.
Kedisha’s work begins as a personal investigation of self, childhood memories and ritualistic practices in the lives of Black communities, and what they signify universally in the world. A timely expression of Black identity, she investigates the overlooked by remixing aesthetics, techniques, and cultural references throughout her work.
She has been selected as one of five Platform 22 artists between 2022-24, a Freelands Foundation artist development programme overseen by Site Gallery, Sheffield. She was the recipient of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park Yorkshire Graduate Award, 2020 and was part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries, 2021.