Anna Banundo, a Montreal-based adult education teacher and freelance writer, has been involved in the visual arts world for the past few years. His expressive semi-abstract paintings are vibrant and spontaneous, characterized by bold lines and brushstrokes. Anna’s expression and style is a fusion of various inspirations, all stemming from human experience. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Anna about her passion and artistic process.
What inspires you to make art?
Whether it is visual or written art, my basic motivation is “expression”. For me, it manifests as an expression that is repressed, repressed, or transmitted and released. Often there is a rush. “Expression” usually revolves around my identity… as a woman, as a spirit, as a teacher, as a lover, etc. It encompasses all but defines certain types of existence. My goal is to gain a better understanding of who I am and to share my journey of self-discovery with others. I am always grateful when I create a work of art that allows me to connect with others in some way, shape or form.
Where do you find your inspiration?
The expression of visual art, especially painting, my inspiration is like a soul stirring within me, to be released at that particular moment. Inspiration for written expression, on the other hand, can be drawn from approx. It could be just a word or a vision, and inspiration would hit me in a wave.
How did your journey into painting/making art begin?
My journey towards painting was gradual. It all started with my appreciation for antiques. I have been collecting antique furniture and paintings for two decades. I have some paintings that are over 100 years old. I love collecting paintings by unknown artists, signed or unsigned. This is where my “shadow” experience began. I’ll buy paintings or drawings, and after a while, if I’m not satisfied with the look of the piece, I’ll try to improve it by adding shadows. I did this for a few years and then an artist friend commented that what I was doing was actually an aspect of painting. I whittled down the whole experience until 2014, when I finally created my own abstract two-piece. At that point in my life, I was in my early 40s, struggling with my health, and going through a major life transition. These abstract pieces are intense in color, tone and form. I used different shades of muddy brown and ominous black red. Although abstract art is subjective, my friends and family have clearly seen the anger and aggression emanating from these two paintings.
It was my poetry that made me paint. I see the two expressions as the same thing. I hope to one day combine poetry with my paintings. I actually did it with a sketch: I drew on a plate and then wrote a poem. This poem is dedicated to my late father on his 80th birthday. Posted on Dever: Art & Lit Canada, Issue 015 – Winter Issue 2022-23 Currently, I have created more than 25 artworks. I like to experiment with mixed media and mix acrylic with oil paint among others. I also use different brushes and sponges. I really enjoy painting on canvas, glass and wood, occasionally plates, lamps and coconut shells.
How has your Italian heritage influenced your art?
I don’t think much about my heritage because it’s such an intrinsic part of who I am. Both my parents are from Campobasso in Molise. My maternal grandmother wrote poetry, and I can attribute my poetic side to her. When it comes to painting, there are few relatives who paint more realistically than I do. I don’t know if my painting is influenced by anyone in my family, but looking at some of my pieces, I definitely see a strong Italian and Spanish influence. I was inspired by the works of Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo.
How has working with different cultures influenced your artwork?
As a teacher of adult studies, I have been working in a multicultural environment for over 25 years. Also, I have been married three times to men of different ethnic backgrounds. So, my entourage is very diverse and I love it. Of course, my varied experiences enriched my sense of reality. The way I envision beauty and harmony has changed over the decades. My environment, where I don’t see beauty as an object, heightens my feelings. I am fascinated by all forms of identity. My fusion of masculine and feminine, fusion of Canadian and Italian identity, etc… I like to redefine concepts. For example, I will take what is considered aesthetically beautiful and visually redefine it or reinterpret it in some way. I understand that beauty is subjective and I am comfortable that not everyone will understand or appreciate my art.
What path do you see your work taking in the next few years?
At this point I don’t know where my art will take me, but I’m open to new experiences. I would like to hold my first exhibition either individually or collectively. I think I benefit from seeing people’s reactions to my art. Looking forward to your observations and comments, which will surely help me grow as an artist. This is still a new world for me and I am very excited to learn more. I love the experience of creating my own and taking my imagination wherever it takes me. Somehow I instinctively know how to use and experiment with my brushes. I hope to create more paintings in the future.
2023 has been a productive year so far. An article was published in Arabic about my art. I also recently wrote and published a short story, “My Name is Gioconda,” translated into Italian by Anna Fosci Ciampolini. It’s me coming out as an artist and a painter.
If someone is interested in viewing your artwork or learning more, where can they do so?
I am a member of Artists in Montreal and they are very supportive. Check out some of the artwork here: Anna Panunto (artistsinmontreal.com) I post photos of my artwork and work in progress on my Facebook account: Anna Panunto | Anna Panunto (@anna.panunto) • Instagram photos and videos via Facebook and Instagram
Anna Banundo was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. He completed his undergraduate studies at McGill University. He is of Italian descent and speaks three languages: English, French and Italian. Anna is a course lecturer at McGill University and adult education teacher at EMSB. He is a freelance writer. Over the decades, Anna has published poetry, fiction and non-fiction short stories, and articles on a variety of topics including education. In 2022, he wrote and produced his first play “Where the Heart Is: 1979”. It is a tribute to his late father. In 2023 he wrote and produced a monologue short film translated into Italian by Anna Foschi Ciampolini. Anna is planning her first verse in 2023.
By Christina Pepe
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