My passion for paper was ignited while living in Japan and Hong Kong in the late seventies to mid-eighties, where I began the Canto Series, an epic spirit play with paper and dance. The Cantos are site-specific performances with installations of related works on paper. The first Canto took place on a lonely island mountainside in Hong Kong where I danced with 60 feet of calligraphy paper, inspired by a vision I had of the Paper Goddess snowing paper over the earth to bring healing.
Right after the World Trade Center Tragedy I moved to a cabin in Big Sur. There I cast handmade paper over whale bones including a magnificent cranium wedged amongst boulders in a cove. More recently, I traveled to Berlin and performed in Alcatraz Prison with WE Players-part of the rehearsal process was to spend two nights sleeping in cells. I transformed these experiences into a series of small incised words on paper, titled “Sacred Texts” which were installed in a compressed space.
Now I am working on a mixed media series inspired by Canto XXIV Ineffable which was presented in the gallery in 2013 and dedicated to the memory of Al-Mutannabi Street, the cultural mecca of Baghdad which was car-bombed in 2007. I danced with 2 large drawings in the narrow window overlooking the street, costumed in black with a gold head covering. Installed in the gallery were large drawings which explored heart-rending events both global and personal occurring between 2011-2013, including the Tsunami in Japan. My current mixed media series consists of ripped drawings from this performance along with color xerox images printed on transparent film of myself dancing with paper.
To learn more about my work please visit my website.
View excerpts from the Alcatraz performance, Dying Seal and Sacred Texts.
Read interview: Performance Artist Diana Marto Taps into the Power of Paper, Marin Independent Journal, Feb. 7, 2013.