Dramatis Personae

Dramatis Personae is an homage to the old masters: their brilliant use of light and the raw emotion of the characters portrayed. Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Vermeer… I grew up captivated by their stunning works, found hanging from museum walls but also in art books at home. I watched my father study each and every page for long periods of time with a smile on his face. He loved to explain how the artists created the work, and share other details that felt like little secrets. The quality time we spent together admiring art changed my life.


My transition into painting through the use of a camera was natural. Simply staged yet complex and haunting, these intimate studies plunge the viewer into open-ended stories that took place in unique moments over the past several hundred years. The use of live animals plays upon the human-wildlife connection, adding humor and intrigue to the tableau. Each photograph is embraced by an antique frame that carries its own story. I often wonder who owned them beforehand, or which walls they hung from while being admired throughout time. They are an important component to each piece, bridging the gap between past and present.


It’s vital for me to show the essence of humanity in a way that moves far beyond trends and honors the souls of the “ordinary” who are indeed extraordinary. This world of Dramatis Personae feels native to me, with all its idiosyncrasies and darkness. I’m moved by other lifetimes, other identities. I take refuge with these people, citizens of a lost place, long forgotten.

All images © Tami Bahat
No use without permission