“Maps have been used to demonstrate position, location….but they can also teach history. They can be used to hold stories and feelings about a place.”
Diane Savona

Diane Savona is an artist and collector of domestic artifacts. By incorporating clothing and tools, she connects her work to the people in her community, both past and present. She was a fellow at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists in Philadelphia and a winner of a 2008 NJ Council on the Arts Fellowship Award.

She talks of a different way of travelling, thinking and judging. In her words it’s clear her desire of deeply understanding what she’s doing or who’s representing. When Diane portrays India, Japan or Australia she searches a direct contact with the inhabitants and their culture. At the same time when she talks about her home, she deals with inclusion topics, underling the importance of integration, and the cultural improvement that follows.
Travels: map-art about Diane Savona’s travels

She created “Wagga Down Under” after a visit to Australia. A wagga is a traditional Australian quilt form, made from deconstructed clothing. This one is made from her well-worn travel vest.

Diane Savona, "Wagga Down Under"

Diane Savona, “Wagga Down Under”

 During her Indian route she found out royal women rules. Seems like in ancient castles, they could only view the outside world through carved stone grills called jali. While traveling through India in an enormous white bus, she felt like them. From her limited point of view she couldn’t appreciate most of that amazing country. After her return home, the artist printed a pattern using images of tour bus windows.
Diane Savona, "Indian Map"

Diane Savona, “Indian Map”

Diane Savona, "Indian map", detail

Diane Savona, “Indian map”, detail

During a month in Hiroshima, Diane spent many days ‘beachcombing’ the river edges at low tide. There she found ceramic shards, electronic bits…and glass fused by the blast 70 years ago. This map shows a section of the city nearest to the blast epicenter, with the rivers forming long black verticals, crossed by connecting white bridges. In this work she sew the little pieces she found so that physically a part of the city is present in the map.

Diane Savona, "Hiroshima", 2012

Diane Savona, “Hiroshima”, 2012

This work is based on a map of the Chalmette section of New Orleans: the keys embedded under the cloth are the most noteworthy detail.

Diane Savona, "Hurricane, New Orleans"

Diane Savona, “Hurricane, New Orleans”

After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, she used her collection of Japanese fabrics to suggest an aerial view of the disaster. In Japan, purchases are carefully wrapped. Either in this piece, each section is also carefully wrapped, while the blackened, flooded sections represent the losses incurred. Such as in the other Japanese map, she adds little object of the represented place: the tan border and the ceramic bits.

 

Diane Savona, "Tsunami, Japan", 2011

Diane Savona, “Tsunami, Japan”, 2011

Diane Savona, "Tsunami, Japan", 2011 - detail

Diane Savona, “Tsunami, Japan”, 2011 – detail

Houses: map-art about the cities she lived in

“A young man told me that he is afraid to go into neighboring Paterson, which has a mostly African-American population. I’m a middle-aged woman, and feel no such danger.”

Diane Savona

Diane Savona, "Map of Hometown Perceptions"

Diane Savona, “Map of Hometown Perceptions”

This map explores our subconscious feelings and prejudices, the perceptions we develop about our homes and our neighbors. She obtained this materials at local garage sales, following her principal artistic characteristic: collect fabrics or other objects of the place she wants to represent.

She grown up in Clifton, pictured here in her map as the all-white, fiercely non-integrated community: that’s why measuring tapes mark most of the borders. Now she’s living in the city of Passaic. The difference between the two cities are immediately evident: she sewed in layers of Jewish, Hispanic and African textiles.