Dittmar Gallery


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Upcoming at Dittmar:

Drone Stories

By: Sabba S. Elahi

Drone Stories reminds us of the drones and cross-hairs that loom above us near and far and their causal domestic disturbances at sites of war/conflict.  The works consider the relationship between the technology of the state and the intimately private acts of the individual, the unmanned with the womaned.

Elahi’s work utilizes hand, machine embroidery, and text to call into question the domestic “war on terror”  which began long before 9/11 to target law abiding American Muslims and the more than decade long  drone offensive in Pakistan, a program  touted for its technological accuracy. Ironically, we are limited in our comprehension of casualities as media sources estimate the range of civilian deaths between 424-957 and a total casualty count to be 2,500-4,100 persons. Elahi’s commitment to write the unknown critiques the covert status of the operation.

In her recent embroideries, Elahi surveys everyday moments with her son.  She draws a parallel between his micro actions of seeking comfort and safety to the macro lense of our nation-state, policies prompted by fear under the guise of national security. Elahi’s human suspects haunt us with the vulnerability of their mundane and subtle gestures of everyday patterns. Ultimately Elahi critiques the essence of covert surveillance operations, measured on a physical distance from the object of one’s gaze, a way of seeing without recognizing. To this degree, we are never certain how in our everyday black, brown, and Muslim bodies are being read, and in the end, in some contexts, this can be a matter of life and death


Visit our Exhibits page for information about current and upcoming exhibits.


Fall 2017 Hours 

Finals Week 11/30/2017 - 1/7/2017

Sunday - Saturday: CLOSED

Dittmar Gallery will be closed for the rest of the Fall quarter. Dittmar Gallery will resume regular hours on 1/8/2018.

Please note: there may be limited or no access to the Gallery Space for viewing during special events.

Email the gallery at dittmargallery@u.northwestern.edu for updated event information.


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Dittmar Memorial Gallery, established in 1972, is a student-operated gallery that enlightens and challenges the Northwestern University community with the works of emerging and underrepresented artists from the Chicago area and the Midwest. The staff at Dittmar is dedicated to developing and fostering the Northwestern community’s awareness of the changing attitudes and trends in the art world. We invite artists who work in the contemporary vein, as well as artists who offer an alternative perspective that hinges on the periphery of the art world. In essence, our goal is to provide well-deserved exposure to those outside or on the margins of the mainstream art world.

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