The art that is born at night

Night Queen Puppet
(Photos: Juman Al-Omari)
AMMAN — For young artist Juman Al-Omari, inspiration strikes out of fear: “I feel like I have been stuck in this vicious cycle forever, and now is the time to shatter it,” she said with a cracked voice. “What is this unhappy piece of me? What have I lost? What am I looking for?”اضافة اعلان

Portrait of Juman Al-Omari. (Photo: Majo Tielve/Jordan News)

At her house, where the aroma of mansaf permeated, she sat down on the floor and flicked through a selection of drawings, telling a story behind each one.

Being different for her was complicated, but she found a way to make it work. This young artist from Irbid found that being introverted wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, and in art, she found a way to express her feelings: “I like to draw faces from my imagination, each one projects different stages of my life.

Growing up was certainly painful for me, I had many health challenges, among them eczema. My surface was different, and I started to cover those marks. I wanted to be like the other kids.” 

Portrait of Juman Al-Omari. (Photo: Majo Tielve/Jordan News)

“I have a perception that people have a hard life,” said Omari, harkening to when her grandmother was alive. “She called me ‘Raw’a’, which means wonderful. She got cancer, and I had to go through this hard process which I guess changed my world.” 

Omari said that at the time of her grandmother’s death, she experienced sleep paralysis for the first time. 

 (Photos: Juman Al-Omari)

“I thought I was dying; I was not able to move, and I started hallucinating,” she said. “I was 13 years old the first time I experienced it. It was a scary feeling, then I realized that this will be a part of me.”  

The process of adjusting to this disorder was difficult for Omari. She was afraid to fall asleep, which made her realize that she was more creative at night. 
“I fell in love with the person I was at night — it was like a spiritual experience, everyone was sleeping in my house, and I kept drawing,” she said. “I wanted people to understand me, so one night I decided to take my emotions into something tangible and create a character, ‘The Night Queen’.”

(Photos: Juman Al-Omari)

Every time she sees The Night Queen, she feels proud that she has managed to turn the problem of sleep paralysis into something beautiful.

Later, Omari was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition that generated widespread musculoskeletal pain. In 2018, she looked for a new way to capture what she was experiencing and took it upon herself to make a collection of portraits framed in green, purple, and blue colors: “At that point in my life, I felt out of place. I couldn’t connect with others.” 

According to the young artist, music also played an important role in her creations.

(Photos: Juman Al-Omari)

“I like to listen to music and create something,” she said, citing one of her works, which was inspired by Silhouette by Grace Carter. 
“When I listen to this song, I feel a great relief, the kind that comes after it is so hard to breathe,” said Omari. 

Having lived a turbulent life made her so vulnerable that she could create a beloved and distinctive world, where she gets to express herself freely. 

(Photos: Juman Al-Omari)

“Maybe if I hadn’t gone through all of this, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t have so many emotions to express,” she said. “It is fascinating what the brain can do, transcending the physical world. I started to like the way my mind thinks, so all these experiences mold me and make me stronger.”

And if there is anything Omari learned from her past, it is that deep gut feelings should not be underestimated. 

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