Known to biologists, artists, photographers, tourism operators, ranchers and other locals as ‘grasslands’, and to the Lakota as ‘maka tatanka’ or nehiyawewin/Cree as ’buffalo-land’, or ‘paskwaw mostos askiy’, the southwest and its natural inhabitants are celebrated for their beauty and resiliency to survive under extremely harsh weather conditions.
Compromised by accelerated human intervention, the lives of these inhabitants, (many of them considered species at risk), are compromised to the point that even the soil has become a ‘species at risk’. As an artist and yoga practitioner, Diana’s visual fascination with life in southwest Saskatchewan leads her to explore forms of energy, archetypal cycles of life and death, and authentic lives and relationships as a means to understand her interdependence with the land.
The Sanskrit yoga term, samskāra refers to the decisions, patterns and habits of thought, action and speech we all develop throughout our lives, with karmic results. Each painting examines her own samskāras, and/or those she encounters in the Southwest on coffee row or elsewhere. Inspired by contemporary visual artists Marsha Kennedy, photographers Edward Burtynsky and James Page, and Métis and nehiyaw/Cree interdisciplinary artists Madonna Hamel, Moe Clark and Joseph Naytowhow, the act of painting for Diana yields a visual health record or ‘temperature gauge’ of the land and its inhabitants. Painting is how she stays in touch with her subject matter while she is away from ‘the field’. It is both her act of agency and her medicine.
Raised in Regina, Diana moved to Val Marie, near Grasslands National Park, almost a decade ago to focus on her art practice. Following her enjoyable public library and arts related career path she is exceedingly happy to explore, paint and converse with the land and its resident beings. Having studied with visual artists Leesa Streifler, Ted Godwin, Art MacKay, Lynn Hughes and more recently, George Glenn and Marsha Kennedy, her work is further informed by the industrial photography of Edward Burtynsky, studies of nehiyaw/Cree worldview with knowledge keeper/life partner, Joseph Naytowhow, and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy/psychology. In addition to her art practice, Diana manages a small bed & breakfast, holds intuitive painting retreats and is known as the local cat whisperer.