bruno bio


Canadian-Quebecois sculptor Bruno Weegun Tomei was born in the Great North of Quebec, in a small mining city called Schefferville, now turned ghost town after the closing of the Iron Ore Company of Canada in 1982. This was heartbreaking news for Bruno W. Tomei who felt suddenly evicted from the wild surroundings he loved and understood most. Even if it is said that time heals everything, there is very little cure for nostalgia, and Bruno W. Tomei was fortunate enough to find a sort of salvation through his art.

Art, but just not what most people are accustomed to because Tomei’s sculptures are different from anything we are used to see. Albeit the use of driftwood and recycled materials he finds on Gaspe Coast’s beaches, Tomei has a gift for seeing animal shapes into wood. He describes his work as a mere attempt to follow the drawing lines he sees into wood, which he “underlines” with acrylic paint or just by adding a recycled piece to make a tooth, an ear, a wing or a paw. The sculptor jokingly compares his work to that of a “Dr Doolittle of the art world”. In fact, Bruno W. Tomei is a sculptor with a good sense of humour and perhaps this is what makes his “Animouks” look so lively. Also, being himself of the sign of Pisces, he enjoys creating pieces representing its many symbolic aspects and named them the Pesca Series to honour his father who is of Italian descent. The lightness of laughter is the way TOMEI found to show all the magic of his “Animouk World”, just like the creators of Kermit the Frog or Mickey Mouse once did.

Behind the funny looks of the Animouks lie also deep concerns for environmental issues the animal kind has to face because of human activity. His quest is to represent the teachings animals hold for the humankind, and to achieve this he relies on shamanism and the wisdom of the first nations. In sum, Bruno W. Tomei’s artwork resembles a living legacy of what animals would like to tell us if only they could speak humanly. Isn’t this art’s most important function i.e. bring to our attention what we often fail to see?

When Bruno W. Tomei started making Animouks, he only wished to remind himself of totemic animal medicine. It is upon his meeting with an artist professional painter that he started considering a more serious way of being represented in the art world. He soon found out that a serious representation meant hard work. In order to reach pristine standards in terms of longevity, solidity and composition, he went through extensive research to perfect his knowledge of art and learn new techniques. After much hard work, the Animouks were shown for the first time at La maison amérindienne of St-Hilaire in 2013.