The Artist's Gaze: Daliah Ammar

Daliah Lina Ammar is a nineteen-year-old Palestinian-American artist based in Chicago, IL. Daliah’s interest in making paintings stemmed from her fascination in the oil painted self. The purpose of Daliah’s work is to transcend the notion of the self and the physicality of paint, resonating from vulnerable and personal experiences, as a means of conveying life as it blooms or decays from within. Expressing that awareness of the self and reflecting to the viewer establishes a relationship between themselves and herself – creating a human connection resonating from unspoken, personal experiences. Daliah’s works are confrontational, yet, intimate and personal – using the painted surface as a trope for the physical and psychological presence between the inner self and external viewer.

Daliah Lina Ammar is a nineteen-year-old Palestinian-American artist based in Chicago, IL. Daliah’s interest in making paintings stemmed from her fascination in the oil painted self. The purpose of Daliah’s work is to transcend the notion of the self and the physicality of paint, resonating from vulnerable and personal experiences, as a means of conveying life as it blooms or decays from within. Expressing that awareness of the self and reflecting to the viewer establishes a relationship between themselves and herself – creating a human connection resonating from unspoken, personal experiences. Daliah’s works are confrontational, yet, intimate and personal – using the painted surface as a trope for the physical and psychological presence between the inner self and external viewer.

Daliah Ammar Current Artwork

Interview with Daliah Ammar
The Artist's Gaze
Curated by Victoria Selbach
Sirona Fine Art Gallery

What compels you to the specific women you choose to paint?

Most of my work is actually self portraiture - I find that I'm able to express what I want the most emotionally by choosing to paint self portraits versus just using a model.

When do you know you have made a significant connection to your subject and what does that feel or look like from your perspective?

The few times that I've used a model instead of myself, I found that it took far longer for me to create an significantly emotional connection with them. It's only when I no longer just view the subject as, plainly, a subject and instead viewed them as just shapes and lines, that I was able to connect to them. This is because when I paint my self portraits, that's how I view myself - not as myself, but just lines and forms.

Tell us about a strong reaction you have received to your work and the impact you sense it has made on the subject, viewer or the greater cultural landscape.

Perhaps it's not exactly a specific reaction, but several times I've been told that people have had emotional connections to my self-portraits - saying that they can see themselves through them. Knowing that I'm able to create work that a stranger, as well as myself can relate to, even if it's not very obvious, is such an incredible thing to me.

What is it about your personal journey that has brought your gaze to focus so deeply on women.

I've always been interested in the human figure, way before I even picked up a brush, and out of conveniency, I've always been able to use myself in my work. That's why I always think I'm more interested in the female figure versus the male.

Why this visual dialogue? What do you hope to accomplish through your work?

I want to be able to create an unspoken relationship between myself and the external viewer by using my own personal experiences.

Tell us about your current series or work and how it may be different from the work submitted for the show.

Momentarily, I've stepped away from self portraiture and am using models of different ethnicities, ages, as well as genders and have begun to be interested in blending digital elements of photographs with the traditional medium of oil. 

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