Born in 1953, Sonam Dolma Brauen spent the first six years of her life in Tibet. Due to the Chinese occupation of Tibet, she fled across the Himalayan mountains with her family to India in 1959. From the age of seven, Sonam joined her mother in working in road construction to support their family. She began attending school for the first time at age 13, learning English and basic studies at an English Medium School in India. At the age of 19, Sonam and her mother emigrated to Switzerland, where she married Swiss anthropologist and curator Martin Brauen. They have two children.
Sonam began her training in 1990, studying at Art School Bern with Arthur Freuler, Leopold Schropp, Mariann Bissegger, and most significantly, Serge Fausto Sommer. The majority of her paintings are abstract. They are illusory appearances following the Buddhist belief that all appearance is ultimately illusory.
After moving to New York City in 2008, where she lived for four years, she began working more with installations using materials and objects like used monk robes from Asia, plaster, empty amunition shells. Provocative works utilize teeth and used ammunition in pieces that comment on contemporary society.
Her installations express ongoing themes that preoccupy her: Machoism and its relation to power, money and war; and the political situation in her home country Tibet.
Her work has been shown worldwide alongside artists such as Bill Viola and Zhang Huan, Jenny Holzer, Kiki Smith and Robert Longo among others.
Member of visarte
Professional association of the visual artists in Switzerland
OMI Residency, Ghent, NY, USA, Francis Greenburger Fellowship for Mitigating Ethnic&Religious Conflict.
Residency in Area 24, Santo Stefano al Mare, Italy
2012 - today
Studio in Progr, Bern, Switzerland
Residency in Haeinsa temple, Korea
Residency in Vermont Studio Center, Johnson VT, USA
2008 - 2011
Working and living in New York City, USA
from 1990 on
Attending art classes at the Art School, Berne, since then working as a painter and installation artist.
Sonam Dolma won the Wold Citizen Artists Award for her work "Boomerang"
World Citizen Artists, along with the Bob Marley Foundation, The Gandhi Foundation, Belgravia Gallery, Playing for Change, Fat Freddy's Drop, Emmanuel Jal, Lisa Kristine, Tim Page and Nomfusi, organized its second worldwide World Citizen Artists Awards initiative ‘Compete for Peace – Not War’.