April Sunami is a professional visual artist primarily focusing on mixed-media painting and installation. She earned her Master of Arts Degree in Art History from Ohio University and her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Ohio State University. Sunami is also an award-winning installation artist through the 2012 Columbus Art Pop-Up Project sponsored by the Greater Columbus Arts Council. Her work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums including the Columbus Museum of Art, National African America Museum and Cultural Center and the Southern Ohio Museum. Sunami is married to writer and philosopher Christopher Sunami. They both live in Columbus, OH and co-parent two bright and imaginative kids.
For over a decade I have considered myself a cultural producer, contributing to the ongoing conversation of race, identity and representation through the creation of paintings that place black women front and center as the subject of my work. I deliberately create images of strong, spiritual, women of color as a means of proclaiming my personal identity and providing a different lens for the social perception of black women. Many of my works are titled after West African queens and deities forgotten or ignored by Western historians. Through excavating these names, I feel I am remembering a marginalized past. It is also important to me that the woman is portrayed as an active and powerful subject instead of a passive object.
As a foundational base of my paintings I utilize oil and acrylic mediums. I render the faces and flesh in oil and I use acrylic to paint the ground palette of the body, clothes, and background. I build up the surface of my canvas and create texture by utilizing everything including paper beads, maps, wood, fabric, broken mirrors, bullets, stones, breakaway glass from car accidents, and anything else I acquire. Mostly these objects that I use in my paintings come to represent specific themes in my work such as spirituality, history and mythology of the African diaspora, ancestral ties.