Edoardo Villa was born in Bergamo, Italy, in 1939. He studied at the Andrea Fontini Art School and was conscripted to the Italian army for two years, during World War II. Villa was moved to South Africa in 1941 where he spent four years in the Zonderwater prisoner of war camp. The prisoner camp led by H.F Prinsloo and Villa was later asked to sculpt his head for the military museum.
Villa remained in South Africa after his release in 1942 and began his work as a sculptor. Villa's work was moved into conventional style heads and figures, which changed the formal aesthetic of his work. His work is a largely influenced by Picassos and includes abstract explanations of the human condition but retains some figurative concepts. Villa's work has a strong cross-cultural amalgamation, which involves both his Italian and the African influences. Villa's iconic use of steel and bronze was established during 1950s and taught at the Polly Art Center in Johannesburg in 1952.