Diana recognises the need to re-present the horrific events of war to each new generation as a warning about what can happen in a society when hate of 'the other' gets the upper hand. She tries to find fresh approaches by avoiding showing disturbing images that can turn people away and can cause a secondary traumatization in viewers. She tries instead to make work that engages the viewer with beautiful formal qualities and holds his or her attention while the installation is gradually understood.
Cabbage patch was made in response to a story Diana's mother told of survival in the camp. The exiles were not given enough to eat and were starving. A cabbage patch planted by the guards was off-limits to the exiles, but, risking serious punishment, her mother would crawl at night on her hands and knees to nibble the cabbage leaves. The guards assumed the damage was caused by animals.
Cabbage Patch 2011
Polymorph plastic, spent brass cartridge cases
200cm x 200cm
In Siberian Exile (2017), Diana appropriated the symmetry and naive imagery of the Polish craft of wycinanki (cutting folded paper with sheep shears) to create six laser-cut Russian birch plywood panels that tell the story of deportation and incarceration. These panels were suspended and front-lit to cast shadows on the walls behind.
Siberian Exile (2016)
Russian birch plywood
42cm x 68cm (single panel)
Diana's mother packed her Polish national costume with the few personal possessions she was allowed to take with her to the labour camp. Diana scanned the skirt and found this beautiful darn which was made by her mother or grandmother. Then she found a quote, Sewing mends the soul, and this became the title of the image.
Sewing mends the soul (2011)
82cm x 34cm
The deportees had to cut down and chop up trees, and take them to the river to be transported downstream. Those trees that were left standing will have two annual rings that formed in the two years that the deportees were forced to work.
Tree rings 1940,1941 (2017)
Adobe Illustrator image, Giclee print
54cm x 54cm