April Sunami; A Mixed Media Painter who Helps Lift the Community
When coming up with a list of badass women to highlight for Women’s History month, April Sunami, along with a couple of other selected women I’ve admired throughout the years- was on the list. April and I crossed paths for the first time in 2021 during an Art Celebration event at the Columbus Museum of Art. I remember her radiant energy and seeing her work in person left me speechless. She had this amazing technique of storytelling that was captivating to her audience through her mixed media paintings.
Fast forward to this past week, April, and I had the chance to connect again in her studio at BlockFort. I’m so thankful that she allowed me and Tom Lotozo (another badass photographer) to capture her in her element and chat with her about who she is and a little bit more into her history of how she came to be. Everything April Sunami has done and everything she has been through has gotten her to where she is now, and she’s okay with that, no regrets.
“My job is to connect with people, and there is this other responsibility as a black woman artist to help other young black artists, give as much advice as I can, give as much mentorship I can..that’s part of the responsibility, you lift as you climb,” shared April.
April Sunami is a Mixed Media Painter. She is also proudly a wife, mom, friend, muralist, art educator, curator, and lady boss. April is from Cincinnati but came to Columbus for her undergrad at The Ohio State University, where she majored in Art History............Que the shout-out to Steeb Hall and Catfish Biff's (RIP).
After her time at The Ohio State University, April worked in Art Administration for the King Arts Complex and then moved to Ohio University for more education in Art History... In the middle of April's venture at OU, she met an advisor, Jenny Klein from the East Coast, who became one of her most incremental allies. April and Klein came up with a game plan to finish her program while balancing other life achievements, like starting her beautiful family. April is proof that you don't have to choose between being a mom and making art. Like we said, April is a BOSS.
April has always surrounded herself with strong independent women. Just look at her art, everywhere you look, there are images of incredible women of color. Connecting with her art is in a way, connecting with her community that she has strived so hard to build. April helped start "Sistahs of the Arts," now "Creative Women of Color." Their mission as artists and community members is to continue to be influenced by African heritage. "All my subjects are women... I come from a strong mother, strong grandmother, so ya, it just informs so much of my identity," stated April.
To have the opportunity to chat with an individual such as April, it really gives a beautiful insight into all that she has accomplished as a black woman artist and how much effort she puts into making sure that other black individuals can do the same.
April has had two International showings in Cuba & Accra, Ghana (YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT-AMAZING), Southern Ohio Museum, Akron Art Museum, the Columbus Museum of Art, National African American Museum and Cultural Center at Wilberforce University.
This past summer, April did a living mural in Cincinnati, which is something you NEED to see (it's on my list). It's a tribute to her mother before she passed. The mural location is steps away from her mother's childhood home.
If you are interested in seeing any of April's work in person, then mark on your calendar for her upcoming solo show at the Sherrie Gallerie on April 2nd and an upcoming collaborative show with Lisa McLymont (another badass visual artist in Columbus) at the 934 Gallery at the Columbus Airport.
By now, there is no way you don't understand that April is an artist you NEED to follow because the amount of her art that fills the community and its surrounding areas is unmatched.
April, thank you for your time in allowing me to paint a little bit of a picture of who YOU are. I appreciate you and all of the work that you do. Thank you for chatting with us. You are a beautiful addition to our city.
All photos are taken by Emma Parker Photography.
For more information, please contact Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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