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In NYC, Sonny Brings us Face-to-Face with Wildlife in Demise

  • Portrait of Sonny in his studio
  • Sonny - Skull Of Logan Mexican Wolf
  • Skull Of Pinda Orangutan
  • Left Sonny - Skull of Saha Tiger Right Sonny - Skull of Karia Leopard
May 14, 2018
Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice.

The ongoing debate on climate changes has been present in the media in recent years more than ever before. The effects of constant industrialization and consumerism are devastating; pollution endangers and causes disruptions of ecosystems, so each living being on Earth is affected. The environmentalists try to educate, certain states are recycling for decades, yet the situation is not getting better.

These issues, with a specific focus on animals, represent the focal point of the work of artist Sonny. His latest series will be displayed in New York under the title To the Bone.

Left Sonny - Kumbukani Rhino Right Sonny - Karia Leopard
Left: Sonny – Kumbukani Rhino / Right: Sonny – Karia Leopad

Sonny – The Engaged Street Artist

British born artist Sonny is a self-taught, yet burgeoning street artist who lives and works in Johannesburg. By focusing on the representation of animals in specific graffiti style, he has managed to establish distinct practice and express himself throughout the world from Russia, over Canada, to London.

Sonny’s aesthetic is largely embedded in the African landscape and wildlife in combination with the elements of fantasy and geometry. The agenda of his practice seems to be the engaged one since the artist devotedly raises awareness about the significance of conservation of endangered animal species.

Left Sonny - Lohan Mexican Wolf Right Sonny - Kunga Gorilla
Left: Sonny – Lohan Mexican Wolf / Right: Sonny – Kunga Gorilla

To The Bone

Aside from murals for which he became known, Sonny has released large-scale canvases and hand-painted sculptures under the latest project of the symbolical title. By portraying the endangered animals, the artist is eager to critically articulate the destruction of our natural heritage.

Whether it is a wolf, rhino, elephant, a gorilla or any other animal, they are all being represented on paintings with half of their faces stripped of flesh, while the sculptures are basically their skulls. These works tell much about the petrifying consequences of the historical process such is colonialism and present-day expansionism.

The relationship between humans and animals has never been more daunting, so it can be said that these works question not only various social or political aspects of the animal extermination, yet they are questioning our own notion of humanity just by confronting us with the animal’s eyes.

Left Sonny - Mudiwa Elephant Right Sonny - Manipi Grizzly Bear
Left: Sonny – Mudiwa Elephant / Right: Sonny – Manipi Grizzly Bear

Sonny in New York

This peculiar exhibition of works by Sonny will open on 17 May at 393 Broadway Street in New York (One block from Canal Street), and is free of charge and open for the public until 19 May 2018. The opening preview, with music by DJ Moma of Everyday People is on May 17, 2018 from 6pm.

The installment will represent the climax of the artist’s world tour due to which he has painted murals in different cities from the UK, over Russia, and finally the USA.

Featured image: Portrait of Sonny in his studio. All images courtesy the artist.