Eve Shepherd’s Betty Campbell Monument “… is great art, but perhaps more importantly, it is great public art.
Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, and broadcaster, and is editor of Wales Arts Review.”
This year 2022 Eve will celebrate her 30th year as a professional figurative sculptor.
Now aged 46, she has worked on many international public commissions and her work is enthusiastically collected and held in public and private collections worldwide.
Throughout her lengthy career, she has committed herself to pushing the boundaries of figurative sculpture both technically and conceptually. As with all great artists she has cultivated a unique style and is now considered a master sculptor.
Born to a working-class family in Sheffield, UK from generations of steelworkers and cutlers, she quickly found her place and power, in speaking out for the voiceless through her sculptures.
Challenging social taboos and beliefs, her brave and inventive approach to tackling the oppression of disregarded groups within society reflects her own personal experience of growing up as an outsider.
She adopts this ethos in her personal, much sought-after ceramic and bronze work, speaking of the human condition and emotions and beliefs, often censored by ourselves or societal norms.
Eve’s sculpture aims to tackle an array of emotions, embracing all areas of the human psyche, in the hope that just one person might experience the work and feel heard.
The symbiotic relationship between humans and nature is also a crucial feature of Eve’s work. Growing up, her family home backed onto an ancient woodland, where she learned to love the wonder of nature and recognised our interdependence on it.
Reflecting this symbiosis, Eve’s personal and commissioned work often combine multiple elements of nature, plant, habitat, tree or animal, with the human form, either directly or in metaphor aiming to redress our elitist perspective that humans alone rule the roost.
Eve recently won a commission to create a 1.25 life-size bronze statue of Emily Williamson, the RSPB Co-founder for Didsbury, Manchester.
In her design Eve addressed not only the huge accomplishment of this unsung heroine, but also acknowledged the enormous importance of conservation work and our relationship with nature and wildlife.
In September 2021 Eve’s iconic “Betty Campbell” monument was unveiled.
Standing 4m high the huge bronze was commissioned for Cardiff City Centre, as the first sculpture of a woman of notoriety in Wales and commemorating Betty Campbell, who was Wales’ first black headteacher. Totally unique in its design, Eve uses the metaphor of Betty Campbell as a forest ‘Mother Tree’ protecting and sheltering her saplings (pupils and community) beneath her canopy. Her roots seen at the base of the monument create the outline of a map of where she grew up in Tiger Bay, highlighting the international relevance and history of the area.
Eve also worked with Professor Stephen Hawking for Cambridge University, UK, and insisted on including both his amazing mind and his disabilities as a person suffering from Motor Neurones Disease in the full-body portrait created.
She also created three busts for the permanent collection at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, representing three un-depicted societal groups within the museum’s collection, women (Girl Guides), Refugees (AFRIL) and the LGBTQ community (Mermaids UK).
Visitors now make a beeline to visit these pieces and are one of the most sought-after items within the Museum.
Marrying together her traditional and contemporary styles and powerful concepts Eve’s work is not only completely unique, but it is also challenging, imaginative and informative.
Born to a mother who’s true vocation was as a teacher of small children, Eve’s sculpture carries a great passion for educating young and older minds about the importance of fairness, equality and a love of nature. She believes that sculpture is a powerful tool to educate and heal.