Unmani / Sam


…left her body on 25 March 2020, on the Day of Silence (Nyepi).

Unmani 2

Ma Unmani aka Sam (Samantha Black) was born in New York in 1955, and lived a lot in India, as well as in England and The Netherlands. She became a sannyasin in Pune in 1978 or 1979.

Unmani lived in Asia most of her life, with Bali as a base. She witnessed the arrival of electricity on the island and its transformation to the international destination it’s become today.

Her unusual jewellry is admirable; it is mind-boggling how many different and sometimes diametrically opposite materials she explored which inspired her inventive unique pieces. Over the decades she continually came up with new collections with an unusual twist.

Samantha called her work Wearable Art and once explained, “As I moved away from commercial production, more and more my work has emerged as tiny sculptures. Sculpture was my major at several art schools in the U.S. and Holland. It’s quite amusing that Unmani means “no mind”, which is the state from where all my pieces arise – waiting to be born and given life in a material form. I know each piece intimately, and have chosen to continue to specialize in one-of-a-kind pieces. Given the advent of modern production I feel we need to preserve the high art of fine metal work and aspire to create pieces worthy of becoming the Faberge Eggs of the future!”

She was a free spirit, with a wicked sense of humour and big-hearted. She loved to laugh, entertain friends and lived life to the fullest.

Samantha was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx a few years ago and managed to tamper it down until it flared up again last year. She started a crowd-founding page as the proposed treatment would be expensive; she was also looking at spending time at an Ayurvedic clinic in India.

Adapted from a previously published article by Bhagawati in Viha Connection.


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