top of page
Paint

Paintings

odissi
Exterior latex on plywood, 48"x 36"
produced by DAMA
lead artist & designer, Sonya Sankaran

Created for Olbrich Garden's Annual Blooming Butterflies Exhibit, Madison, Wisconsin

Olbrich butterfly_edited.jpg
Olbrich butterfly.3.jpeg

This design was based on a butterfly species whose vibrant black and yellow wings reminded me of one of my mother's saris, a traditional Indian dress. The upper wings feature ornate designs including lotus flowers, which are believed to be the seat of creation. On the lower wings are silhouettes of Odissi dancers; Odissi is the classical dance of Odisha, a north eastern coastal state in India. To integrate the designs into a butterfly wing pattern, I used colors that mimic the eye spots that butterflies often use for defense.
High school students laid in the background for this design during DAMA programming, while details were completed by me in the shop.

Community

Community

Phoenix Weaving Sculpture
Patrick Marsh Wildlife Area
Sun Prairie, WI

In 2019, Groundswell Conservancy asked me to facilitate a community design project that would result in a sculpture that could be seasonally set aflame as a part of a renewal tradition on their Patrick Marsh Wildlife Area. Partnering with metal sculptor, Don Schmidt, I conducted visioning sessions at Prairie Phoenix Academy (PPA), an alternative high school in Sun Prairie. With drawings and words from students we designed this weaving frame consisting of flames and a phoenix rising from the middle.Two PPA students then visited Westside Elementary School with us to teach younger kids about the project and gather ideas through an interactive wire sculpting activity. The younger students contributed ideas to the design.
 

The Nature Nook
Brittingham Park
Madison, WI

In 2019, through the City of Madison's Connecting Children with Nature (CCCN) initiative, I spent several months with Bayview Community Center youth designing a "Nature Nook" or nature mini-park within Brittingham Park in Madison, WI. The Nature Nook design features accessible pathways, play raft with accessible ramps and deck, fort, boulder "dragon," climbing log, branch boxes/fort building materials, planters and a hillock.

Each season, this elaborate weaving frame will be adorned with invasive and overcrowded brush cleared by restoration teams and burned in celebration of the renewing forces of nature.

starkweather pride
Exterior latex on plywood, 48"x 72"
produced by DAMA
lead artist & designer, Sonya Sankaran

Installed on commuter bike path along Starkweather Creek, Madison, WI

20171129_135132.jpg
Darbo bikepath.jpg

This design was inspired by a request from community members in the Darbo-Worthington neighborhood of Madison, WI. Gun violence and other activity led to an already close neighborhood coming together even more to build relationships in an inclusive way. This piece was a continuation of other placemaking such as a community garden bed, benches and a street mural.
Neighborhood youth began painting this design during the Darbo-Worthington Pop-up Market, while details were completed in the shop.

power
Exterior latex on cement wall, 48"x 30'
Lead artist & designer, Sonya Sankaran

Design ideas from teen interns, City of Madison Wanda Fullmore Program
Painted with K-5 youth during Nature Day at Warner Park Community Recreation Center, Madison, WI

20171003_135458.jpg
20171003_135519.jpg
20171003_135512.jpg

"You have the POWER to make a difference," was the message that Wanda Fullmore teen interns wanted to pass on to children through their summer internship with Public Health of Madison and Dane County (PHMDC). In partnership with Madison Parks, I worked with interns to design and paint this mural as a part of the Cities Connecting Children to Nature Initiative, for which I was principal consultant from 2016-2020.

In spring of 2016, Public Health of Madison Dane County received a grant from the Children and Nature Network to join the first cohort of 7 cities participating in the national Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN) initiative. Still active today, this initiative “seeks to create more equitable and abundant access to nature in cities through a partnership between The National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families and the Children & Nature Network. CCCN supports robust citywide action plans to implement policy, develop new partnerships, amplify nature-based programming, and create more equitable nature access.”

POWER mural.youth paint.JPG

Love the lake
Exterior latex on composite bench, 72"x 24"x 24"
Lead artist & designer, Sonya Sankaran

Design inspired by 5th graders, Bayview Community Center summer program

bayview boat making.2.JPG
Bench mural_edited.jpg
Bench mural.jpeg

In 2019, through the CCCN initiative, I spent several months with Bayview Community Center youth designing a "Nature Nook" or nature mini-park within Brittingham Park in Madison, WI. As a part of this project, summer program youth created drawings depicting their love for the lake that I incorporated into this bench mural. 

The Nature Nook design features accessible pathways, play raft with accessible ramps and deck, fort, boulder "dragon," climbing log, branch boxes/fort building materials, planters and a hillock. (Find more details on my page, Nature - Placemaking)

Play haven mural
Exterior latex on polytab, 10' x 63'
Produced by DAMA
Lead artist & designer, Sonya Sankaran

Painted with students from the Renewing Futures program, LaFollette High School for Atlas Play Haven Childcare Center, Madison, WI

South police station mural
Exterior latex on polytab, 10' x 20'
Produced by DAMA
Lead artist & designer, Sonya Sankaran

Painted with SAIL West Alternative High School students for South Park Street Police Station, Madison, WI

bottom of page