Halla Gunnarsdóttir was born in Reykjavík, Iceland 1974. She studied at the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy between 1994-1996 during which time she spent several months at the Surikov Academy in Moscow. She then moved to New York and after completing her B.A from The New School she did her M.F.A in figurative sculpture at The New York Academy of Art. In 2003 she was awarded the NYAA sculpture research fellowship. She also holds an MBA from Paris-Sorbonne University.
As well as working as a sculptor and painter Halla has worked as an art director and received several nominations for the Icelandic Theater Awards, winning the award in 2011 for her design for the rock opera “Shockheaded Peter”. Halla has also worked as a teacher, giving workshops in portrait sculpture and the human figure as well as working on sculpture commissions. In 2008 Halla participated in a month long residency in Amman Jordan. The residency was designed to bring together European artists and artists from the Middle East with special focus on artists from Iraq who were residing in Amman as refugees. In 2009 Halla won a public competition held by the City of Reykjavík for a sculpture of Tómas Guðmundsson, an Icelandic poet. The sculpture was unveiled in December 2010 and is situated in the center of Reykjavík. Halla recently spent a year in Stockholm Sweden where she had an atelier at Wip:Sthlm (Work in Progress) a collaborative venture involving over 90 artists.
Halla´s work has mostly focused on the human form and animal form, sometimes combining both creating hybrid sculptures. Much of her recent work is inspired by environmental and conservation issues and her travels to places such as Indonesia and Antarctica. For the past three years she has been working on a body of work called “Look At Us” that talks about issues concerning endangered animals. In September 2015 she travelled to the Arctic, sailing from Svalbard, north into pack ice and from there to Greenland, with a team of scientists, wildlife photographers and artists to raise awareness about the effects of climate change in the region. Currently she is working on a large drawing project inspired by her Arctic travels. “Drawing Into The Arctic: A Story Of Ice And Animals” is a three part project encompassing ninety drawings using magical realism and narrative drawing to depict the beauty and decline of the polar region.
Halla did the production design for the Swedish drama “Let the Right One In” at the National Theater of Iceland which opened in March 2016 and was subsequently nominated for the Icelandic Theatre Awards for the design. A solo exhibition of her work titled Look at Us opened in Reykjavik in September 2016. As of this year she has been working in Madrid and Rome on an upcoming solo show opening at Listastofan, a non for profit art space in Reykjavík.