April Sunami - Mixed Media Artist

April Sunami

A Mixed-Media Artist from Columbus, Ohio, will be showcasing her artwork in the Bob Evans Quilt Barn the weekend of the 2017 Emancipation Celebration. Below is a link to a Columbus Dispatch article from Feb 2017 and the info regarding Ms. Sunami from this article. Ms. Sunami is the niece of Emancipation Board President Andy Gilmore.


April Sunami - 36, MIXED-MEDIA ARTIST
Growing up in Cincinnati, Sunami used to fake illnesses so she could stay home from school to make art.

She drew, painted, made collages, crafted pottery and tried every other type of creative pursuit she could get her hands on.

In 1998, she began studying her passion at Ohio State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in art history. She later earned a master’s, also in art history, from Ohio University in Athens.

“As long as I can remember, art has been a constant in my life,” the Near East Side resident said. “Art is me, and art is my governing passion.”

Whether she’s creating a piece for a themed exhibit, by commission for a law office, or as a political statement, Sunami typically begins with a woman’s face and hair.

When she first started exploring the female form, she used African queens and deities and her favorite actresses and models for reference. Now, she often relies on friends and acquaintances.

After painting the face in oils on canvas, she adds a background in acrylic. Then comes the fun part: the three-dimensional elements.

Using a technique inspired by Robinson, Sunami incorporates a variety of materials: glass, seashells, bullets, sheet music (“borrowed” from her husband), an earring with a missing mate and so on.

She wants her work, which she creates in a Clintonville studio near the elementary school that her two children attend, to speak to people.

“They’re not necessarily narrative but portraits — snapshots — of women,” she said. “But something I’ve been very adamant from the beginning is, I don’t paint passive figures. They are meant to be strong, spiritual, active.”

Nannette Maciejunes, executive director of the Columbus Museum of Art, said Sunami’s art — with its use of “found objects” — often reminds her of Robinson’s yet also distinguishes itself: “April’s work is always addressing a lot of issues around women, about being a mother and being a woman today,” she said.

With her talents, Sunami hopes to inspire younger African-American artists (she works part time with low-income youths through the Art in the House program, run by the nonprofit Ohio Alliance for Art Education) and to help them achieve their creative goals.

“I’m in love with art history, but I’ve always felt frustrated with my ancestral history being excluded,” Sunami said. “This is my way of putting it in a place of privilege and honor.”