This painting conveys the personal story of Diana. As a young child, she had a toxic relationship with her mother. Diana’s mother, afflicted with bipolar disease, was psychologically and physically abusive to both Diana and Diana’s brother. In the circle one can see a crescent with four dots cut into the wood. This is simultaneously a smile and a frown, symbolizing Bipolar disorder, which was the catalyst for her mothers abuse.

When Diana was a child, she witnessed her younger brother endure a merciless episode of abuse after their stepmother assumed he stole a bottle of perfume. This scarring moment is expressed within the painting by the cloud like shape behind Diana, representing a plume of perfume. Within the plume of perfume and in Diana’s skirt can be seen repeating patterns of blue pinwheels. The blue pinwheel is a symbol for child abuse prevention.

As a part of the ongoing disputes that marked her parents’ divorce, her father would lock the kitchen cupboards to prevent her mother from feeding them food he had bought. Her mother did not have the means to purchase her own food for them and so they often went hungry. This lack of food and familial love caused Diana to feel unvalued as a child. In the painting the opening within the circle represents a lock that was once closed. However, the lock is now open indicating that in her adulthood she has found a love within herself that nourishes both her body and her soul. One way she has done this is by deconstructing her relationship with food by utilizing it in her art performances.

Trauma although unbearable in the moment ultimately forms us into the people we are. Diana, as someone who has lived through difficulties unimaginable to most of us transfixes us with her gaze, which is both bold but at the same time shows a subtle frailty relatable to us all. Having experienced a vast array of emotion, she has become very effective in communicating and connecting to her audience as a performance artist and has also obtained the capacity to empathize and relate to other victims of abuse.

Diana often employs hair as a major prop in her performance art and finds that it has been one of her most expressive props. To Diana, her hair embodies strength and carries her power. She also feels resonant with the energy of found branches and collects them, she expresses that they connect her to a part of herself that is grounded. A Root-like wooden stick woven into her thick brown hair illustrates her self-manifested grounding to this power.

Currently Diana works with children in hopes of providing a positive and healthy role model for them, something that she wished she had herself as a child. Diana is also an active member in the Albuquerque community, advancing both local political issues and pushing the boundaries of the performance art scene. She is an empowered and expressive woman. Instead of becoming a vicim, she has chosen to transform her experiences. Diana uses them to be of great service to her community and to create impactful art in the world around her.

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Oil Painting on Wood.
Layered Geometirc Woodcut


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