Artist Diana Forster has employed the traditional Polish craft of paper cutting (wycinanki) in designing her new artwork ‘Somewhere to Stay’. This craft involved people making their own pictures by folding and cutting coloured paper, traditionally using sheep shears; they then used the paper cuts to decorate their houses. It was a very domestic craft, perfect for evoking ‘home’ in art; and Diana’s first panel in particular was inspired by the beautiful paper cuts of Karol Klosowski (1882-1971).
As well as evoking culture, identity and a sense of ‘home’, the cut-out images make it possible to cast shadows, both through artificial light and sunlight. This adds another dimension to the artwork and introduces the idea of the ‘long shadow of war’ – connecting to the Visualising War and Peace project’s wider study of war’s extensive aftermath.
We have exhibited ‘Somewhere to Stay’ in both indoor and outdoor locations. The journey of the sun, the moving shadows and the changing weather conditions in our outdoor location add an additional layer of meaning to the art work. As one refugee who visited explained, he experienced all kinds of weather on his own journey of forced migration; so he felt that it was fitting to be able to visualise this story of displacement in both good and bad weather conditions.
The Shadows of ‘Somewhere to Stay’
Diana Forster, 2022
Image credits: Ed Broughton