top of page

Anatomically Speaking:
The Carnival of Life

What do idioms, old-timey carnivals and human anatomy have in common?

Come one, come all. Step right up to witness this unconventional collection of assemblage art which depicts one artist’s perspective adulting her way through the three ring circus of life.

Peppered with titles using figurative language about human anatomy (ie: “In the Blink of an Eye”) and social commentary, these art works are presented within the context of vintage traveling circus acts, carnivals and sideshows .

After all, being a woman, mother, spouse and human is a performance not always executed with “the greatest of ease”.

Click on the Images to take a deeper dive into each one.

Not Humanly Possible

Not Humanly Possible

29" x 18" x 8" Assemblage, 2022 Wooden curio box, authentic antique medical book illustrations and text, glass vials, plastic anatomy toys, golden shelf, paper clay, old IBM computer keys, antique piano music roll paper, blue flashbulbs, mirror, string lights, reproductions of vintage circus and carnival sideshow posters

Running Around in Circles

Running Around in Circles

by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram 2022 20” x 16” x 5” Assemblage, 2022 Ceramic doll legs, antique metal and paper spinner game, antique checkerboard, plastic marquee letters, game pieces, resin, ephemera

Send In The Clowns

Send In The Clowns

by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram 33" x 21" x 3" Assemblage, 2022 authentic medical student anatomy book (circa 1900), authentic anatomy color plates, antique black and white photo (circa 1932), fabric, antique wooden frame, brass frame, handmade paper, light strand, beads for clown noses

I'm Not a F*<king Mind Reader

I'm Not a F*<king Mind Reader

by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram 27" x 25" x 5" Assemblage, 2022 Wooden box, ephemera, tiny fortune telling tools, doll house chair, crocheted lace, tiny telescope, chain, medical book illustrations, metal fleur-de-lis, Altoids tin, glass drawer pulls, model brain toy

In The Blink of an Eye

In The Blink of an Eye

by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram 20" x 29" x 8" Assemblage, 2022 lenticular image of the human skull, rifle casings, tin merry-go-round coin bank, wooden children’s blocks, board game spinner, vintage black and white photos of children, paper drink coasters, plastic doll eyes, glass drawer pulls, sample eyeglass lenses, fabric vintage book covers, metal rifle replica, handmade paper, reproduction vintage circus signs, chemistry board game pieces

Balancing Act

Balancing Act

by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram 19" x 24" x 3" Assemblage, 2020 antique wooden frame, vintage world maps, paper clay sculpted brain and heart, paint, distress inks, paper, wire, altered vintage black and white photo (with my face superimposed)

Circus Wagon

Circus Wagon

by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram 26” x 23” x 11” Assemblage, 2022 Wooden Sewing Case Cover, wooden toy wagon wheels, drawer pulls, ornate shelf, ephemera, metal star and glass ball.

Sick to My Stomach

Sick to My Stomach

by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram 18” x 14” x 4” Assemblage, 2020 Wooden tray, ephemera, comic book post card, game pieces, electronics, shot gun shells, postage stamps, faux US money, brass stencil, antique eyeglasses, book cover, book illustration

Trying to Catch My Breath

Trying to Catch My Breath

by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram 25” x 26” x 5”, assemblage 2022 Wooden clock case, plaster wings, old vinyl record, brass escutcheon, picture frame, resin lions, paper clay lungs, vintage rhinestone jewelry, flash bulbs, tiny lights.

Bored Out of My Skull

Bored Out of My Skull

by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram 9” x 6” x 1.5” Folder, 2020 Ephemera, translucent paper, phone protector packaging, tiny lights, thread, glass bottles, toy skull, vintage medical illustrations, book cover, raw silk, ink, paint

Got To Get Out of My Own Head

Got To Get Out of My Own Head

by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram 11” x 8” x 3”, Assemblage 2020 Ephemera, vintage scale, watch parts, antique brush, wood, ink, paint

Time to Get My Brain in Gear

Time to Get My Brain in Gear

by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram 19" x 12" x 3" Assemblage, 2022 repurposed mirror, paint, watch parts, authentic antique anatomical brain illustration, sterling silver and jade jewelry broach

Ring Master D

Ring Master D

Ring Master D- Learn more!

Past Exhibition 2021:

Immigrate: Assimilate- Stories of Resilience

This body of work was two years in the making culminating in a two month exhibition at the Encinitas Community Center in Encinitas, California in 2021. CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE ART IN THIS COLLECTION.

 

It's a visual story told through the art of assemblage and collage about the immigrant experiences of the ancestors of the artist, Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram- a second/ third generation Italian- American.
 
Highlighting their journeys from Sicily to Brooklyn, New York at the turn of the 20th century, each work of art invites the viewer to spend more than a moment to explore the attention to detail, meticulous craftsmanship and interesting narrative.
 
Denise uses found objects (vintage and modern), ephemera (common and artisan) as well as personal mementos, historical documents and photographs. This project has connected her to her ancestors in a more intimate way and has brought their stories to life. These tales may be specific to her ancestors, but the struggles they faced were shared experiences of many. 
 
This collection of over 20 works of art weaves in historical context, highlighting events which not only effected their lives, but also shaped the world at large. Narratives explore events such as: the arduous steamship trips across the Atlantic Ocean in steerage, the scary and exhilarating Ellis Island experience and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire that helped fuel the sweatshop workers’ rights movement.

This  work is deeply personal. Interwoven throughout these dynamic assemblages are memories, stories, photographs and official documents of the artist's  maternal and paternal great grandparents, grandparents and great aunts and uncles, some of whom she remembers first hand, but most she only knows through photos and stories passed down.

"In essence, one might say that this body of work is more like 200 years in the making, " Denise remarks, " I invite you to spend some time to soak in all the details and get to know my ancestors filtered through my creative brain, and in doing so, you may get to know me a bit as well."


 

bonaimo visual art logo

"Paper Dolls" On Display Now until April 26, 2023 at the San Marcos Community Center

bottom of page