Gerry Judah's maternal and paternal grandparents came from Baghdad to settle in the already established Baghdadi Jewish community in India and Burma. His mother was born in Calcutta and his father in Rangoon. Gerry Judah was born in 1951 in Calcutta and grew up in West Bengal before his family moved to London when he was ten years old.
As a boy, the dramatic landscapes of India and the ornate architecture of its temples, mosques and synagogues with their theatrical rituals had a profound effect on Judah's developing psyche. These theatrical elements were to resurface in his own later work. Austere London, still in its post-war drab, was a shock to the young boy, and he chose to spend as much time as possible in his bedroom conjuring up with pencils and paper imaginary landscapes, architectural fantasies and futuristic cars. In short, he became an artist. He left Whitefield Secondary Modern School, London in 1969 and worked in a number of jobs from kitchen porter (Blooms Restaurant, Golders Green, London) to architectural draughtsman (T.P Bennett and Son, London, Richard Seifert and Partners, London and Douglas Scott, the designer of the Routemaster bus) after which he went on to study Foundation Art and Design at Barnet College of Art (1970–1972) before obtaining a Double First-Class Honours degree in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London (1972–1975) and studying sculpture as a postgraduate at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (1975–1977).
After college, Judah set up his studio in Shaftesbury Avenue, the theatre centre in the West End of London. There, he began to work on large sculptures. Needing still to earn his keep and finance his work, he took casual work round the corner in many theatres as a stage hand and scenic artist. This included work at the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Royal Festival Ballet, London Contemporary Dance, Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet, Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre.
Judah was taken with the public nature of this work and decided to find settings for his own art in more public arenas than the rarefied spaces of conventional galleries. He began to build a reputation for innovative design, working in film, television, theatre, museums and public spaces. He created spectacular settings for institutions such as BBC, British Museum, Natural History Museum, Imperial War Museum, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, The Who, David Bailey, Terence Donovan, Sting, Godley and Creme and Ridley Scott Associates. He has also created spectacular sculptures for Ferrari, Porsche, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, Renault, Ford, Rolls-Royce, Honda, Toyota, Land Rover and Alfa Romeo at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed and has designed bridges in London and Cambridge.
Amongst a number of commissions from public museums and institutions, Judah was asked by the Imperial War Museum in London to create a large model of the selection ramp in Auschwitz Birkenau for the Holocaust Exhibition opened by the Queen. Extensive research and numerous visits to Auschwitz led Judah to produce a highly acclaimed work that encouraged him to take his art in yet a new direction. Returning to his fine art beginnings he began to make art born of his reflections on historical events. He created a body of large three-dimensional paintings exploring the devastations of war and the ravages man has made upon the environment caused by recent conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East with solo exhibitions: 'FRONTIERS' at the Timber Yard, London in 2005, 'ANGELS' at the Royal Institute of British Architects, London in 2006 and the British High Commission, India in 2007, 'MOTHERLANDS' at the Louise T Blouin Foundation, London in 2007, 'COUNTRY' at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton 2009 and 'BABYLON' at Flowers East Gallery, London 2009. Judah is currently working on a major commission for the Imperial War Museum North, Manchester to be opened in November 2010 and a solo exhibition opening in New York in December 2010.
Gerry Judah's work has also been exhibited at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Camden Arts Centre and Yorkshire Sculpture Park and has entered many international public and private collections including the Charles Saatchi Collection London, Anita and Poju Zabludowicz Collection London, Imperial War Museum London, Essy & Fatima Maleki Collection London, David Roberts Collection London, Chris Drake Collection Sussex, Centre for Arts Israel, Irena Hochman Collection New York, Bobby Kapoor Collection India, Museum of Old and New Art Australia and The Earl of March Goodwood.