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An Interview with Tami Galili

An Interview with Tami Galili

Tami In Studio
Tell us a little about yourself:
Born and raised in Tel Aviv. 
Where I trained as an abstract painter in Vitzo Tarfat Art institute.
Graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art.
Professional artist , living and working in Ottawa.
Teacher of art to all age groups, including advance studio at the diploma program at OSA
I have great passion for Art history and work aspect into most of my courses.
I’m also a self taught leather smith and jeweller  - designer and producer of silver and leather fashion accessories.
You can find examples of Tami's work by visiting her instagram: @galili_ellis
Tell me about your process and how different materials can help show layers and complexities in your work?
I am intuitive and immediate in my work, using gesture and line to convey my ideas. I tend to layer my oil paints and directly draw into the painted canvas with charcoal and oil sticks. As the work evolved, I cover some of the marks with paint, allowing some to be present and some to be erased.  I often use just the oils, oil sticks and charcoal, but at the past I resorted to using beeswax, gesso, gold foil and even resin to create some other complexities in the final appearance of the painting.  
Studio Layout
I know your work can often comment on the ‘male gaze’ and the impact on femmes. Can you talk about how movements like “Me Too” have impacted your work in the last year? 
I have been concerned with female body image for many years, interested in the symbolic use and misused of the female body in art history. How from the earliest times the female body was both admired and reduced by symbolism, and ultimately how the female body was never really owned by the femme.
It's high time we take back the female body and liberate the figure from its burden, for that reason, I permeate the figure with its fierce, innate energy.
Speaking specifically to the “me too” question, it became a movement in 2017 and thus didn’t impact my early work. In  2016 I had an exhibit entitled EXPOSED evolved around some similar issues. The use and misused images of the female body,  voyeurism,  sexuality and empowerment. 
Book Shelf
Your background as an Israeli immigrant plays a big role in the work that you produce. Can you tell us how the differences in our cultures and ideologies have impacted your work? How is this different from the last time we had a show with you?
Growing up in Israel and then coming to Canada has made me very aware of how I am shaped by the “landscape” of my youth. I attribute much of who I am to the geographic, cultural and political realities of life in Israel. Places like the Negev Desert and the Dead Sea, and cities such as Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and Jaffa with their diverse architecture, blended cultures, in addition to the conflict and tension of extreme political issues far beyond what most nations experience, are ingrained in me even after decades of life in Canada. Life here is obviously quite different from that of Israel. Canada is a multicultural nation and both are extremely young. Our challenges and politics aren’t nearly as volatile as the middle east, but they are real, and have some similarities. It is often argued that Canadians are struggling to find their own identify and perhaps there is some truth to that given our proximity to the USA, or the age of our nation. In Israel the struggle is also about identity, the right to nationhood and the preservation of culture. These questions or tensions permeate a society and in my personal experience manifest through the gambit as polite political engagement to military conflict.  It is the combination of cultural, political, and geographical influences  that continue to fuel my art.  I have no doubt that I have become a byproduct of both nations and will continue to evolve and be influenced by the forces around me.
How do you think Ottawa and Canada can encourage other immigrants (especially those who have arrived since the refugee crisis) to participate in the local arts and cultural scene?
Have more information sessions for immigrated artists. Provide some translation and additional assistance to grant applications and other exhibits, or community based opportunities. Ensure juries and other decision makers have proper oversight to achieve an unbiased inclusion and provide opportunity to all regardless of background, age, nationality, race, religion or creed.
Who are your biggest influences and why? 
Many: history, current events, conversations, travel, books, artists, diversity, art, LIFE.
Who is a living artist who you admire?
Peter Doig- For his profound use of colours, his imagined landscapes, and his ability to move from representation to abstraction
Anslem Kiffer -For his controversial historical issues, his use of non conventional materials,  and for his monumental, moving works
Marlene Dumas - For her loose brushwork, distorted imagery and underlining important themes such as eroticism and sexuality.
How do you determine when an artwork is complete?
When I have no need to add a single mark to improve it. 
Artwork Hanging
Can you tell us about your biggest success or accomplishment in your art in the last year?
I curated a pop up drawing exhibit called “unscripted”. The show included a community of diverse woman artists of different backgrounds, age, art practice and in various stages of their art career.
I Became a Jeweller, learning and expanding techniques and knowledge . I'm trying to merge my artistic language into the craft of silversmithing. 
In what direction do you hope to take your work next? 
More curating, continue investigating issues that are close to my heart.
We have several beginner artists who will read this blog. What is your best piece of advice that you can share about starting and maintaining a successful art career?
Keep at it, persevere, work hard and grow. Do not get discouraged by rejections. Find a support group and consider joining a community of creative minds, network and build relationships.
Tami's work will be shown at her exhibition, PER·I·DOT, at Wallack Galleries between November 7th and the 23rd.

Vernissage November 7th 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Artist's Talk November 16th 11:00AM - 12:00PM

Workshop November 16th 1:00PM - 3:00PM


You can find more information about her show by visiting
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