Ilsa Ahmad (b.2000) is an emerging multidisciplinary artist currently living in Amiskwacîwâskahikan or so-called Edmonton, Alberta. Through painting, installation, and multimedia works, Ilsa explores the vanishing boundaries between digital realms, divine spaces, and their own emotional body. Pulling non-linear and sometimes nonsensical narratives from her dreams, lived experiences, and stream of consciousness writing, Ilsa mythologizes these confessions/offerings as a form of storytelling, investigating the implications of radical honesty in all realities.
Through painting, installation, and multimedia works, I explore divine realms, digital spaces, and my own emotional body as abstract sites and the vanishing boundaries between the three. Considering the internet as a confessional space—with vulnerability online providing a sense of absolution, community, and attention—I am invested in revealing the complexities of this dynamic.
If the internet is a confessional booth or a divine void, then there is someone who is listening, preaching, and guiding. Pulling and presenting textual, non-linear, and sometimes nonsensical narratives from my dreams, lived experiences and stream of consciousness writing, I cast myself as a participant within this online confessional culture.
I consider my paintings as confessional offerings to this digital-divine space. Employing gestural self-portraiture and recurring symbology, I intend to mythologize these narratives as a form of storytelling, and to explore the implications of radical honesty, whether that’s clear or not.
My multimedia works and installations exist as portals into this other realm, building both the environment and objects/images/confessions that live there. Juxtaposing language and graphics that exist in “spiritual” and self-help internet niches with memetic text and personal tweets, I attempt to create tension between promises made by preachers within these niches and confessors that believe them.
this found you for a reason!, 61” x 60” x 40.25”, insulation foam, plaster, quilt, LED candles, graphite on somerset, pastel paper, wooden frames, laserjet prints, oil on wood, hair extensions, plush and plastic offerings, 2022
if i think about it long enough every good memory turns into a stomach ache, 80” x 80” x 2”, oil on wood, 2022
twin flame, 30” x 30” x 2”, oil on wood, 2023
this found you for a reason! II, 13ft. X 6ft., laserjet print installation, 2022
Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl, 30” x 30” x 2”, oil on wood, 2023