Diane Kahlo lived in El Paso, Texas as a young child. She spent most of her teen years in southern California before her family moved to Berea, Kentucky in 1965. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in art in 1973. During those years, her work focused on worker’s rights and anti-war politics.
In the mid-seventies, Diane Kahlo lived in Athens-Greece and taught English. Her work at this time was strongly influenced by numerous factors, including the iconography of the Byzantine Church, Classical and Hellenistic Art and architecture, and the political climate of the time.
In the last 15 years a lot of her work has focused on exploitation and violence against women and populations dis-empowered by sexism, racism, xenophobia and poverty. Most recently she has concentrated on topics addressing the U.S./Mexican border. This work has been supported by the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
Strongly related to the work on social justice is her equal concern for the environment. In the last decade, Diane has incorporated materials and processes usually assigned to craft, children’s art and “women’s work”. She has created mosaics and textiles from objects and materials that she has found in yard sales, flea markets, on the street and rescued from the shores of rivers, lakes and oceans. She has friends and relatives who collect these bottle caps, Mardi Gras beads, craft beads, plastic bottles and send them to her from all over the country. Her basement is full of “garbage”…labeled and organized to be used in a mandala. “The process itself is meditative….I love the repetitive task of sewing and gluing these beautiful objects into place….giving new life to the disposed.” -Diane Kahlo