April Sunami

Photo credit: Caroline Kraus
Photo credit: Caroline Kraus

Make Your Peace

mixed media

60″ x 48″ (left)

24″ x 80″ (center)

60″ x 48″ (right)




April Sunami is a professional visual artist mainly focusing on mixed media painting. She received her Master of Arts Degree in Art History from Ohio University and her Bachelor of Arts Degree also in Art History from Ohio State University. Her subjects mainly revolve around portraits of women and the female form. Sunami is a leader of Creative Women of Color, Harmony on the South Side, the Eastside Arts Initiative, and a proud member of Creative Arts of Women. Sunami is also an award-winning installation artist in the 2012 Columbus Arts Pop Up Project sponsored by the Greater Columbus Arts Council. She was born and raised in Ohio and currently resides in Columbus, Ohio. April’s work has been widely exhibited throughout Columbus and her work is represented in private collections throughout the country.




Throughout my neighborhood and in the south side of Columbus I have occasionally encountered makeshift memorials to acknowledge the often violent loss of loved ones. The trio of paintings “Make Your Peace” is my “urban shrine” to the numerous African American children, men and women who have died violently and prematurely in marginalized communities. Furthermore, “Make Your Peace” is also an exploration of how cultural aesthetics are ultimately a reflection of systems of belief. Reckoning with the loss of life in addition to making sense of a seemingly chaotic and uncertain world is at the heart of how belief systems evolve. Art has always served as a vehicle to express the sacred. For these paintings I drew upon the inspiration from a variety of cultures including American street culture, West African symbolism, Australian Aboriginal dreamtime painting, arabesque motifs from Islamic art, and Christian iconography. Most of the materials utilized in the paintings have been gathered in the streets and alleyways of my community.

For several years I have painted women with fanciful hair and/or body coverings (i.e. burka, hijab, veil, etc). When I first started painting this theme I was interested in exploring the beauty of the female face and combining it with flowing shapes to represent hair or the covered form of a body. I’m still engaged in the idea of coupling the abstract with the figurative, but now I’m also preoccupied with the larger theme of contrasts. Representational/abstract, light/dark, high/low, decorative/substantive, symmetry/asymmetry, material/idea, intuition/intellect, power/impotence, Western hegemony/marginalization, universal/specific and process/result are few of the dichotomies to which I attempt to bring balance. My interest in the interplay between opposites is also evident in these paintings especially in the pairing of the sacred and profane.

“Make Your Peace” is my attempt to break away from empirically driven and purely conceptual art to bring the connection between art as a spiritual object and as an aesthetic object together. My paintings are meant to question what it means to be spiritual today and the ways art can be an expression of how we make sense of the world and ourselves.