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Unn Sønju has been working as a visual artist since 1963. With drawing as her starting point she began to explore textile printing. By chance she discovered tapestry weaving and instinctively understood that this was her medium. After fifty years of continuous work in the studio,       the structural puzzling and complex reasoning necessary to complete intricate tapestries is still an enjoyable challenge. Before weaving can commence ideas are explored through numerous drawings and developed further by material research and experiments with the construction of the tapestry. The revealing moment of cutting down the tapestry from the loom is a thrill. The woven image is at last seen as a whole, not merely as a fragment that disappears at each turn of the warp beam.


Sønju has exhibited extensively in Norway and internationally. She has participated in well over a hundred exhibitions, and has completed nineteen public commissions. Her work is in private and public collections, including Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum, Norsk Kulturråd, Oslo Kommunes Kunstsamlinger, OsloMet, and Sogn og Fjordane Kunstmuseum.


Unn Sønju was born 1938 in Oslo. She Lives and works in Oslo and Numedal, Norway. She is married to the artist Miles McAlinden. They have four children, Sunniva and Mikkel (b. 1963), Finn and Maja (b. 1969).



Selected Solo Exhibitions

2015                        RAW WAR, Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo, Norway

2013                        Unn Sønju: Dona Nobis Pacem, Hannah Ryggen Biennale, Galleri Hans, Ørland Kultursenter, Sør Trøndelag, Norway

2009                        RAWAR, Soft Galleri, Norske Tekstil Kunstnere, Oslo, Norway

2006                        Mellom himmmel og asfalt, Kunstnersenteret i Buskerud, Drammen, Norway

1996                         Jeg stoler, Trøndelag Kunstsenter, Trondheim, Norway

1995                        Det bråner, Årheimsstua, Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo, Norway

1994                         Jeg stoler, Galleri RAM, Oslo, Norway

1990, 1986, 1971   Holst Halvorsens Kunsthandel, Oslo, Norway

1989, 1977              Trondhjem Kunstforening, Norway

1988                         Hordaland Kunstnersenter, Bergen, Norway

1987                         Textilgruppen, Stockholm, Sweden

1981, 1977              Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway


Selected Group Exhibitions

2020                        Gjerdrum Kulturhus: 'Myrkvartett'. Landart Gjerdrum, Norway

2019                        Qui Vive! An Exhibition Trilogy, Kunstplass - contemporary art, Oslo, Norway.

2018                        Ode til en vaskeklut, hymne til en tiger, Jubileumsutstilling for NTK 40 år, Kunsthall Stavanger, Norway

2017                        XI. Triennale Internationale des mini-textiles, Musee d'Angers, France

2017                        Ode til en vaskeklut, hymne til en tiger, Jubileumsutstilling for NTK 40 år, Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo, Norway

2016                        Kvinneblikk, Oslo kommunes kunstsamling, Oslo, Norway

2016                        Con Textile, Contemporary Tekstile Art Biennial, Guimaraes, Portugal

2015                        Diversity and Unity, 5th Riga International Textile and Fibre Art Triennial, Latvia

2015                        Visual Arts Scotland: Transforming, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

2013 - 2014            Artapestry 3 Angers, Allers-Retours, Musées D’Angers, France

2013                        Rijswijk Textile Biennial 2013, Netherlands

2013                        Soft, Gustavsbergs Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden

2013                        Alt du kan bære, Galleri VI, VII, Oslo, Norway

2011                        Vanish/Survive, 7th International Biennial, Vilnius, Lithuania

2011                        Norwegian Textile Art in an International Perspective, Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Norway

2010                        Global Intrigue II, 4th Riga International Textile & Fibre Art Triennial, Riga, Latvia

2009 - 2010            Artapestry 2, European Tapestry Forum,

                                 Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum, Ålborg, Denmark / Vestlandske Kunstindustrimuseum, Bergen, Norway

                                 / Musée Jan Lucrat, Anger, France / Konsthallen Luleå, Sweden

2006                        Artapestry 2005, European Tapestry Forum,

                                 Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum, Ålborg, Denmark / Deutsches Textilmuseum, Krefeld, Germany

1999, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1985, 1981, 1980, 1978, 1977, 1973, 1972: Statens Kunstutstilling, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway



Selected Publications

2020                        The Art is the Cloth, Micala Sidere, Schiffer Publishing,USA. ISBN 978-0-7643-5992-7

2017                        Ode til en vaskeklut, hymne til en tiger, Norske tekstilkunstnere 1977 - 2017. Grapefrukt forlag, Norge. ISBN 978-82-997574-4-7

2016                        Tekstilkunst i Norge, Randi Nygaard Lium, Museumsforlaget Trondheim, Norway. ISBN 9788283050233

2015                        Hundre Kvinner, Museumsforlaget Trondheim, Norway. ISBN 9788283050219

2013                        Rijswijk Textile Biennial 2013, Museum Rijswijk, Netherlands. ISBN 978-90-801242-9-5 (NL)

2012                        Tapestry: A Woven Narrative, Black Dog Publishing Ltd. London, UK. ISBN 978-1-907317-24-8

2012                        Soft, Gustavbergs Konsthall, Sweden. ISBN 978-91-980286-4-5 (SE)






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