“The works are but aspects or traces of a theme that in human concepts, in language is not representable. All of painting, but also literature and everything that it is connected to, is always but a circling around something unsayable, around a black hole or a crater, whose centre one cannot penetrate.”
-- Anselm Kiefer 1990
Through the consequence of warfare and genocide, there is the inevitable silencing of individuals and the human spirit. Yet how do the creators of art, embody the oppression and silencing of a nations cultural identity and the silence that prevails after genocidal death? The aim for Sonje as an artist, has been to go beyond all the facts, and make visible this silence, thus confronting the viewer with the world of feeling, emotion and experience.
In the Autumn of 2003 Sonje completed the MA in Ceramics programme at UWIC having developed a strong theoretical background to a practical research project which was centred around the often unspoken aspects of the human condition. It seemed natural to be influenced by current affairs, and at that time the world was being projected with and effected by images of warfare and suppression from the Gulf and Iraq. The body of work that developed called “Portraying the Silence” became the focal point for many questions, and enabled her practice to move beyond the figurative commercial sculptures that she had been exhibiting since 1996. Not only did it encourage her to research widely the role of the artist in relation to war, genocide and the aftermath, but also highlighted the absence in history of ceramic as a medium for the narration of such concerns.
Without a doubt, one may suggest that art, poetry and all creative endeavours become the survivors of the barbaric acts of genocide and warfare. They become a voice for the silence and the silenced in the aftermath of bloody persecutions. By examining the qualities that can be achieved from the ceramic material and the process employed to transform them an effective visual language was developed for the expression and personal concerns of this artist, living in a world where barbaric acts of genocide, warfare AND terrorism are seemingly becoming an everyday occurrence.
This series of ceramic books has been exhibited nationally many times since 2003, now all sold and with private collectors. The research behind this project and others continues, supported by exhibiting nationally, teaching and travel.