“I have asked Sonja to make a contribution to my blog, as I have been featuring professional artists, writers, and musicians from all around the world, and inviting them to talk about themselves, their Art and Literature, in the current COVID-19 pandemic Era.”
Adam: I first met Sonja Bunes in 1994. I was living in a log cabin in the woods north of Oslo, and I had recently begun to paint. One day I was in Oslo and stumbled upon an art gallery on the second floor of a shopping center. Intrigued, I went inside the gallery and found a young woman sitting on the floor, sorting out paintings that were to be shown at an upcoming exhibition.
I felt a strange connection, which grew stronger when she looked up, smiled and greeted me. After some minutes she asked me if I was interested in Art. I timidly told her that I had only just begun painting, and that I found it energizing as the ideas leaped out of my brain and soul, and literally painted themselves onto canvas after canvas. At that point my paintings were very naivistic. I had no formal art academy training, and painted out of intuition.
Sonja asked me if I had any photographs of my work, and coaxed me to show her what I had been working on. For some odd reason I did have several photos of my paintings in my knapsack. It was obvious that Sonja was interested in encouraging learning artists. She asked me about my paintings (which were very New Age/Spiritual), and I explained that I had recently been diagnosed as a person with AIDS. My paintings were an exposé of my journey of healing … in spite of the fact that the virus was (at that time) untreatable, and I had been told that I had but a few years to live (10 years maximum).
I was thus consumed with trying to find meaning, in all directions: alternative medicine, meditation, prayer, and connecting with my Spirit Guides. Sonja looked at my work with sincere interest, and asked me if I would like to meet her partner with whom she ran the art gallery. Shortly afterwards I stood face to face with him, a tall artist-shaman, and I again felt an intense connection. He seemed to gaze directly into my soul as he asked me: “Why are you here; and what are your plans?” I gathered my courage and said: “I would like to have an art exhibition in connection with World Aids Day, on December 1st. I explained my project ideas, which were written down on a large sheet of paper, and included many details about marketing, press coverage, catering, entertainment, and more. He meditated on the project for less than a few minutes, and then told me that the project would indeed take place on World Aids Day 1995.
I hurried back to my log cabin and got down to work. I would share the exhibition space with a Russian artist, Irina Movmyga. There were about 200 visitors at the exhibition opening, entertainment, refreshments, and no fewer than five local and national TV stations carried news footage from the exhibition and short interviews with me. That remarkable exhibition was the first of many World Aids Day Art Exhibitions that I held in the years that ensued.
I eventually reconnected with Sonja a few years ago, and visited her art studio in Oslo. Both her and my art has (of course) developed since that first meeting and cooperation. We have both had several art exhibitions since.
The video is best viewed in a dark room with the sound on.
The Beat Around The Bush is interactive immersive visual art. A visual meeting between Tim Burton and fauvism. Soundscapes are inspired by Laurie Anderson, Brian Eno and Philip Glass. To the rythm of various mantras, destructive and loving, you can interact in extremeties of uncomfortable dark and joyful light.
Ulla is a quiet girl living inside a woman, leaving drawings and notes around both hoping and fearing they will be found. How will you react?
Vonja, the woman, is strong and healthy, but struggles with ambivalence and relational issues. She has ignored the little girl for too long. Can you help?
Challenges will come in many shapes and colors.
Why is it so hard to face childhood sexual abuse? How long shall we beat around the bush before facing the fact? When are we going to act?
This can be regarded as an artistic visual reply to the project Testimony.
For more info on the project see my YouTube channel.