Lt. John G. Burnett was an American soldier who assisted in the removal of the Cherokee Indians to Indian territory in 1838. He recalls a snowy night on November 17, 1838, when the wife of the Cherokee chief gave her blanket to a sick child and died from exposure before dawn. In his eye witness account, he calls on the Anglo Saxon race to build a "towering monument" to her act of compassion.
In response, Dianne has created a series of figures from natural elements that recalls the Trail of Tears and serves as her "monument" for an American Hero.
A Lament: Our Childrens' Clothes &
The Morning Paper Read Differently
To read a background story, click on Dianne's image
On the 4th of July in 2000, I performed at the House of Mary in Ephesus, Turkey. At the end of our presentation, the Bishop of Izmir thanked us and said that the United States had a role to play for "peace" in the region. When several months later, on October 2, a young boy named Muhammed Al Durrah was accidentally killed in Gaza, I placed his image on my daughter's christening gown and found myself in a new relationship with the world. These are just a few of the images that hopefully express my condolences, as a mother, to mothers who have lost their children in the unholy wars of our time.
The Cross of Mary
"Mary’s Cross" is composed of images that span the cycle of her womanhood. As mother who is entirely with us, so is she formed with buds and flowers, roots and leaves. Each image of Mother Mary at a different stage of her “flowering” corresponds to a poem and every poem appeals to Mary as an ideal of peace the world has yet to realize or responds to the violence currently sweeping the Holy Lands. As the Jewish girl who became both mother to a prophet for Muslims and mother to the Messiah for Christians, Mary becomes the flashpoint in a time of religious divide for mothers whose children have been lost to the religious intolerance of our day. If we consider Mary as the mother at the crossroads of three monotheistic faiths, this cross invites one to imagine a place where all arguments about God can, or should, cease, and instead, one might hear the weeping of many Christian, Jewish and Muslim mothers. At this cross of Mary, we women lament on behalf of mothers all over the world who mourn and must endure their sorrow.
The Word: Ancestors of Truth
I began collecting alphabets that spanned the millennia and came from every part of the globe after a question was born in my mind out of a concern about the difference between an act of the imagination and an act of fantasy. The question: was language invented to lie or to tell a truth?
Gifts of handmade papers and cherry wood award plaques enabled me pose this question visually when one afternoon I arranged a number of alphabets on a large prayer rug and observed similarities of design between alphabets that were separated by chasms of time, geography and cultural difference. Better to observe the aesthetics inherent in the art of the early alphabets, I created a wall display with the 30 or more alphabets in my possession and was met with the poverty of my own sense of language as well as the richness of design from alphabets lost and languages silenced. The entire experiment did nothing but replace the nag of my question with wonderment for the hieroglyphs that attend human utterance.