Sibylle Szaggars Redford is a German-born multimedia environmental artist whose artwork has been exhibited throughout Europe, Monaco, Peru, Singapore, Japan, Suriname, and the US. She has dedicated her work to Mother Nature. Her work also reflects her spiritual consciousness. Sibylle works to spread awareness about the environment and the activities that destroy it. Most of her paintings are inspired by nature, ancient cultures such as the 'Hopi,' and the Moroccan and the New Mexican high desert. One of her most popular works, 'Rainfall,' displayed Sibylle's profound love for nature. She later used her series of paintings to create a stage play titled 'The Way of the Rain.'
Sibylle was born on April 14, 1957, in Hamburg, Germany. Since her childhood, she displayed a keen interest in sketching and painting. Her frequent family trips to places such as Malaysia, Europe, and Morocco helped Sibylle nurture her creativity as an artist. Later in her career, Sibylle used her travel experiences extensively in her artwork.
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Sibylle began her career in the early 1980s, when she moved to London from Germany. She rented a working warehouse in the lower east end of London, which she soon transformed into her first painting studio. Sibylle shared the space with other artists who contributed to her work. She later started group exhibitions in England and Germany. In 1989, Sibylle organized her first group exhibition at the 'Gallerie im Theatre Operrettenhaus' in Hamburg.
Sibylle moved to the US in the late 1980s. There, she learned a lot about Native American culture and its spiritual connections. She incorporated her learnings into her next series of paintings.
In the early 1990s, Sibylle shifted to Utah, where she established her painting studio in the mountain village of Sundance. In 1991, she organized her first solo exhibition in Salt Lake City. In 2000, Sibylle traveled to Morocco, where she visited some ancient towns and villages. She was moved by the silent beauty of Draa Valley. She used her experience in a series of oil sketches and photographs that displayed Morocco’s history and tradition extensively. The paintings were exhibited in San Francisco soon after the tragic incident of 9/11.
From 2002 to 2003, Sibylle worked on creating a new series of oil paintings of flowers and vases. In 2004, she began working on large paintings, using abstract watercolors. She described this series of her work as "non figurative inventions that carry no symbolic burden." She collaborated with world-renowned cellist Nina Kotova to create a series of large-scale paintings titled 'Shape of Color.’ The series was exhibited at the 2008 'International Classical Music Festival' in Cortona, Italy, and later in Singapore.
In the summer of 2010, Sibylle began experimenting with rain and watercolor. She named the series 'Rainfall.' Sibylle used natural rainwater in the paintings. She would wait for the monsoon to hit the New Mexican high desert and then place her abstract watercolor paintings in the open and let the rainwater work on the paintings. Sibylle shared this unique way of painting through her film 'Rain Painting.' Icelandic musician David Thor Jonsson was the music composer of the film. A part of her 'Rainfall' series was exhibited for the first time in 2011 in the Principality of Monaco and France. The purpose of the exhibition was to raise funds for the foundations of Princess Caroline of Hanover. Continuing with her fascination for rainwater, Sibylle created the stage play 'The Way of the Rain.' The play was her tribute to the Earth and its universal elements. The first stage backdrop that she designed for this play was inspired by her 'Rainfall' series, and the design symbolized water falling from the heavens. 'The Way of the Rain' debuted in 2013 at the 'Highland Theater' in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In 2014, Sibylle collaborated with choreographer Desmond Richardson; American musicians Will Calhoun, Dave Eggar, and Chuck Palmer; lighting designer Steve Cohen; video artist Floyd Thomas McBee; and sound designer Ron Saint Germain to create a new version of 'The Way of the Rain.' The narration was done by Sibylle’s present husband, Robert Redford. This site-specific version of the original play was performed at the 'National Young Arts Foundation' in Miami, Florida.
'The Way of the Rain' was an official selection at the 2015 'Sundance Film Festival.' It was performed at the 'Complex Performing Arts Center' in Salt Lake City.
In November 2015, Sibylle established her non-profit organization, 'The Way of the Rain, Inc.' The foundation strives toward the development of upcoming artists and promotes public awareness to support the protection of the Earth.
In 2016, Sibylle was awarded the 'US State Department’s ‘Art in Embassies Program' for the ‘US Embassy’ in Paramaribo, Suriname. Similarly, 10 of her masterpieces were selected to be displayed permanently at the embassy. Currently, Sibylle’s works are exhibited at the ‘Ernesto Mayans Gallery' and the 'Niman Fine Art' in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Family & Personal Life
Sibylle is married to American actor and entrepreneur Robert Redford. They met for the first time at the 1996 'Sundance Film Festival.' They dated each other for 12 years, and their engagement was announced on May 22, 2008, through the German magazine 'Bunte.' Sibylle and Robert got married in July 2009 at the 'Louis C. Jacob Hotel.'
Sibylle was earlier married to restaurateur Carl-Heinz Szaggars. They ended their 5-year marriage in 1980. Following this, Sibylle was married to musical and theater producer Friedrich Kurz for 10 years.
Sibylle has three stepchildren from Robert’s previous marriage to Lola Van Wagenen, namely, Shauna Jean, David James, and Amy Hart Redford. Robert and Lola had another child, Scott, who died due to sudden infant death syndrome.