Judith Unger is an extraordinary woman who found her way through her sculptures focused on the beauty and strength of black women.
Throughout her life, she has discovered not only a profession, but a spiritual path full of love and beauty for what she considers her Tribute.

“FEAR & COURAGE” Creating ” MY TRIBUTE TO INCLUSION OF BLACK WOMEN” INVITED TO EXHIBIT in the 2022 Venice, Italy Biennale.

“This project drained emotional strength out of me daily. I sobbed as I researched.

Unsolicited by me, black women poured their stories out, some newly revealed to them, of rape, constant fear and feelings of self worthlessness.

It made me want to run away, to escape from the pain. At one point the creation of my claywork froze. I felt crippled, overwhelmed.

BUT I had no option but to continue. I embraced the courage from these remarkable women to continue my project.

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I sculpted a beautiful young black dancer and showed her to my husband. He told me not until 2015 was first the black ballerina given a lead in a major US ballet in 2015.
My niece, a black attorney living in an affluent neighborhood in D.C. fears for her young black son walking outside in a hoodie.

I had to do something positive with my rage and feelings of helplessness.

So I began my intensive journey sculpting portraits of Courageous Black Women Fighting for Inclusion.

Immersed in FEAR I sat at my studio table unable to begin. In all my 70 years of creating Art I never created a portrait.

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Not that I didn’t challenge myself on every piece I create.
But now in fear I confronted myself “By telling me to sculpt these portraits, you are demanding me to succeed beyond my ability.
Telling me to jump off a high cliff when I tremble at heights”

I felt unsafe and scared.

These courageous Black women gave me courage.

I began days of up close battling to create my first portrait.

One day I viewed the portrait from a distance walking out of my studio.

I started to shake and could not stop.
Surprised, I blurted out “Who sculpted that?”
The gift of Courage. I am Honored.
Judith Unger

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You are a very famous sculptor that has developed all that you wanted from your beginnings, but it could be interesting to know when you decided to become a sculptor and why.
My mother, a painter, taught me to draw at two years old.
We’d ride the train weekly to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.  I memorized whole rooms of paintings!   I remember looking up from my small height overwhelmed in a room overflowing with Monet water lily paintings.  A whole new world for a small child.
I fell in love with Sculpture when I studied at Rhode Island School of Design.  Clay felt so right.  The fluid sensuality in my hands translating into Sculpture and Drawings.
I need to Sculpt and Draw.  It is Elemental to my Existence.

03 monthly letter3 - Judith Unger, the sculptor  of "The Tribute to Inclusion of Black Women"

I have seen that you focused on black women for your sculptures. Why and what do you want to show?
My current series of sculptures, “A Tribute to Courageous Black Women Fighting for Inclusion” is invited to exhibit in the 2022 Venice Biennale.
This project drained emotional strength out of me daily. I sobbed as I researched.
Unsolicited by me, black women poured their stories out, some newly rremembered by them, of rape, constant fear and feelings of self-worthlessness.

02 monthly letter2 595x843 - Judith Unger, the sculptor  of "The Tribute to Inclusion of Black Women"

It made me want to run away, to escape from the pain. At one point the creation of my claywork froze. I felt crippled, overwhelmed.
BUT I had no option but to continue. I embraced the courage from these remarkable women to continue my Art.

I sculpted a beautiful young black dancer and showed her to my husband. He told me not until 2015 was a black ballerina given a lead in a major US ballet.
Then my niece, an attorney living in an affluent neighborhood in D.C. told me she fears for her young black son walking outside in a hoodie.

I had to do something positive with my rage and feelings of helplessness that I had experienced for years.

So, I began my intensive journey sculpting portraits of courageous black women fighting for inclusion.
Immersed in FEAR I sat at my studio table unable to begin. In all my 70 years of creating Art I never focused on creating a portrait.

Not that I didn’t challenge myself on every piece I create.

But now in fear I confronted myself “By telling me to sculpt these portraits, you are demanding me to succeed beyond my ability (I thought). Telling me to jump off a high cliff when I tremble at heights.”
I felt unsafe and scared.

1 IMG 4744 595x859 - Judith Unger, the sculptor  of "The Tribute to Inclusion of Black Women"

These courageous Black women gave me courage.

I began days of up-close battling to create my first portrait.
One day I viewed the portrait from a distance walking out of my studio.
I started to shake and could not stop.
Surprised, I blurted out “Who sculpted that?”
The gift of Courage.   I am Honored.

I’d love to give you a personal tour of my work at the
PREVIEW 2022 VIP VENICE BIENNALE OPENINGS PARTIES!

07 monthly letter8 595x847 - Judith Unger, the sculptor  of "The Tribute to Inclusion of Black Women"

African women have something special that I feel is very spiritual. Maybe you wanted to show this with your sculptures?
Yes, you can see it in the eyes, facial expressions and bodies of the women I draw and sculpt.
After weeks of concentrated work my sculptures shine and talk, telling me they are complete.
I use the term “Black” to include women of all continents.

Africa is a magical continent that makes me evoke feelings of love.
I realize that you transmit this also in your works. Do you feel the same?
I am intensely focused when I create my Art.  I often do not hear or see anything else.
Love is inherent in creating of of all my Sculpture & Drawings.

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Why did you never do a sculpture for men?
I have drawn many drawings of men, especially in museums in Venice, Italy.  I intensely drew for a day and a half until my fingers hurt in Florence, Italy’s Uffizi Museum.  Then I continued to draw.
My drawing of Michelangelo‘s “Holy Family” painting.

I felt apologetic to Michelangelo for being so enthralled by his painting. He painted to eat, to survive.  He was a sculptor in his heart.
I drew each line 3,4,5 times to get the lines closer to his magnificence.  A demanding teacher.
    I was deep in drawing and did not notice a large crowd of eighty people watching and photographing me.   One even shot a photo from over my head looking down at my drawing! My husband took multiple photos to prove it to me!  My attention was to my drawing and my teacher, Michelangelo, demanded my full attention, from my eyes to my soul, to my hand to the tip of the pencil.

“The Eagle has Landed”!  I’ve become the queen of the renowned Correr Museum in Venice’s Piazza San Marco.
The guards watch me draw and wait until I’m finished to radio the ground floor,” The Senora is finished, you can close the Museum”
Each day, downstairs security waves me in with a smile, no metal detector.   I show him and the docents my drawings when I leave amidst mountains of glorious praise .

When I first started drawing in the museum, I asked the close guards in Italian to please speak softer because my drawings were difficult to make and I needed a lot of concentration.
My husband came to photograph me drawing (unnoticed by me) and the guards each took him by an arm, led him out of the museum saying “The Senora is drawing and not to be disturbed!”

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Who is the client for your kind of these special sculptures?

Owning my original Art means there is no one else in the World who has the exact Art that you have!

They say you cannot buy happiness, yet there is a feeling of joy, satisfaction and pride of ownership purchasing my art.

My sculpture and drawings are one-of-a-kind. I invest my whole self in each piece.

My inspiration comes from within., my soul, mind, and spirit.

My sculptures take about six weeks to complete, sometimes several months are needed.

Those who want beauty and love and caring in their lives.  My art is a deep experience.

Living with works of art is an enrichment to life. It feeds the soul, it awakens your emotions, it is both stimulating and soothing.

The stories or private resonances that my artwork embodies for those that love it and share it can become a legacy passed on into future generations.
Another great benefit about purchasing artwork is that it can APPRECIATE IN VALUE.

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I would like to know something about your exhibitions. In which countries has she made these exhibitions?
I have shown my work in major venues including the Smithsonian and was commissioned to create an ornament for US President Clintons Christmas tree. I exhibited in numerous venues including NY Fashion Week. My work is featured in many international magazines around the world.

I became ill with a debilitating disease for 24 years and was unable to create Art.   When I recovered, 9 years ago, I created in my studio NON STOP! Sleep and food did not matter!
My work was quickly rediscovered in the Art World.  I received an email seven years ago inviting me to exhibit for my first time in the Venice, Italy Biennale with 30 other worldwide sculptors.  Established in 1895, it is the world’s oldest and most prestigious contemporary art biennale.

It continues to be an honor to share my art to the world via the Venice Biennale.  Peggy Guggenheim was invited to exhibit her famous New York collection and Picasso exhibited in 1948.  Impressionists Chagall, Klee, Braque, Delvaux, Ensor, and Magritte exhibited.  More recently Jeff Koons exhibited in my venue and Yoko Ono currently exhibits in my venue.

My first exhibit in 2018 in the Venice Biennale was “A Changing Narrative Of Female Existence Over Time”.

I choose to present “Leda”, my reclamation of the Greek Myth “Leda and the Swan”, the rape of Leda by Zeus.

“Leda and the Swan” W. B. Yeats

“A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.”

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“Leda & The Swan has been depicted repeatedly by major artists throughout art history.  Leda depicted as docily kissing the Swan.
My Sculpture offers a changing narrative of female existence.  Leda transforms herself into a powerful swan and defends herself.

In 2019 I was invited to exhibit again in the Venice Biennale.  Offered a whole room for my work! “Breaking Free”.   600,000 VISITORS 6 MONTHS, 3,000 visitors came to my venue in one weekend!

” This is MYSTORY, HERSTORY.  My sculpture told my story long before I recognized it myself.   Years ago, I sculpted a faceless woman breaking free, defending herself with threatening claws.
Then, a crouching angel protecting herself under her wings.

I no longer need wings to protect me, to soar.
This is my journey from Oppression to Shining Strength.  I am Free.
I SHINE.  A STRONG WOMAN.  MY ART SHINES.
I give this gift to others, “to give heart”, to EN COURAGE.

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“SHINE”
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?  Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.  It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson

How do you see your future in the world of art?
My work continually changes, grows from my soul, mind, and spirit.
I will continue to expand to exhibit in many major museum venues.
People will continue to enjoy and collect my Art throughout the world.  They will cherish and preserve and share it into the future generations.

And some advice for new generation of sculptors?
I need to Sculpt and Draw.  It is Elemental to my Existence.  Create what nurtures your soul.

To view more of my Art:
CATALOG:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOWptoeav8ZGpyFKRVYPkNJNwK1t_azTdI3fsLNiCc9LrhFJPjmZkVaaRWkYYBS7A?key=bU9IZ0NnelpzUXl2UzhYbF91OUhsQ2xyUFd2VWNn

2019 VENICE BIENNALE VIDEO:

” MY TRIBUTE TO INCLUSION OF BLACK WOMEN” INVITED TO EXHIBIT in the 2022  VENICE BIENNALE: https://youtu.be/mfzs5hhDFlE

EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE VENICE, ITALY BIENNALE:
https://www.artnews.com/art-news/market/the-venice-biennale-everything-you-could-ever-want-to-know-12373/

ORIGINAL DRAWINGS AND SCULPTURE ADVANCING GENDER EQUALITY & “A TRIBUTE TO  INCLUSION of  COURAGEOUS BLACK WOMEN”

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