I was born in Treaty Four territory, a small city called Regina (or oskana kā-asastēki in Cree), on the Canadian prairies. My family roots are of Polish, and German (former Yugoslavia, present day Serbia) descent. As young people, my grandparents settled in two distinct areas of Saskatchewan: the town of Minton near the Big Muddy - an area known for its coulees, badland formations and a sensitive grassland eco-system - and the city of Prince Albert, at the tree-line. I often make pilgrimages to these areas to honor my grandparents and the power of the land.
A serious fall at the age of nine precipitated life-changing orthopoedic surgery. This was followed by several years of bracing and has shaped me in profound ways, both literally and figuratively, and in turn, my art practice. I was blessed to have parents who could afford dental work so a further year of braces completed my apprenticeship with Frankenstein. I am, and will remain, grateful for these experiences, as they have provided me with lessons of humility, patience, and a deep appreciation for diversity; lessons I may not have had the opportunity to learn otherwise.
I completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Regina in 1987. I then completed my Masters degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction in 2001. Despite a partial hiatus from painting between the two degrees, I remained committed to my practice by serving on a number of cultural boards, completing my masters thesis, (with an arts education focus), and undertaking small art projects.
As a means to stay out of trouble, inform my art practice and ‘bring home the kitty vittles’, I have worked in both the private and public sectors. My career experience includes residential real estate, several years of public library program design and delivery, cultural event planning and implementation, arts consulting and project management, and corporate outreach for a provincial art collection.
Always interested in line and color, my artistic studies began at the age of ten with a community painting class. In high school I had the good fortune to study with landscape artist Wilf Perreault. I subsequently acquired a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Regina under the guidance of Art McKay, Ted Godwin, Jack Cowin, Frank Nulf, Lynn Hughes, Jack Anderson, and Leesa Streifler.
The work of other artists, writers, storytellers, musicians and filmmakers (both historical and contemporary) continues to enrich my idea development. Poets and writers Doris Bircham, Barbara Klar, and Trevor Herriot come to mind, as well as visual artists such as James Henderson, Elizabeth Murray, Marsha Kennedy, Frida Kahlo, Wynona Mulcaster, Edward Burtynsky, Nicole Bauberger, Jane Ash Poitras, Vernon Ah Kee, Martha Cole, Patrick Close, Joan Scaglione, Gilah Yelin Hirsch, and many more.
A one year mentorship with Marsha Kennedy in 2006 contributed to the renewal of my studio practice. The result was a series of large scale mandalas based on ancestral research and my growing interest in the land as a living entity. The trajectory of land which extends from Alberta through Saskatchewan and into South Dakota continues to be of particular interest to me.
While travel, both local and international, continues to inform my art practice, it is the spirit of the land, wind, light and water of the prairies, badlands and grasslands which continues to inspire me the most. My sense of awe for Mother Earth, my gratitude for her gifts, and my respect for community engagement all serve to guide my practice.
Please refer to my curriculum vitae (PDF, 248KB) for additional professional details including exhibition history.
“Diana is a being who is deeply observant of nature, whether human or other life forms that reside in her world community. She takes care of life in its unusual and more often these days, precarious, daily existence for our collective survival…A vessel open to images of landscape, weather, and energy in their many forms of expression, she easily builds relationships and engages her art practice as a means of prayer, of transformation and of positive change. Aho!”Joseph Naytowhow, Interdisciplinary Artist/Knowledge Keeper
“Diana Chabros is an artist’s artist. She gives freely of her time and talent to many artists, arts organizations, and helps where help is needed. But more importantly, she is one of those people who does what she says she is going to do. Her artwork is as creative as her visions for communities. To be a working artist, one must stay connected and inspired. Diana is both of those and more. She connects and inspires!”Kevin MacKenzie, Storyteller