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Walking on a rim of light

Diana Page

The w a o ndering artist . .

.. 1967 Family moved to Grahamstown

1965 Born Durban, South Africa

Diana Page

Drawing Painting Performance Video

Drawing is the touchstone, the playground and the laboratory of all my work. I paint layered images inspired by my thoughts, experiences and memories.

Discovered painters Howard Hodgkin, Richard Diebenkorn and Frank Auerbach

1986 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Honours Cum Laude

the beginning of a life of roadtrips

1984 Met Mark Muller;

at University of Pietermaritzburg

1983 Started Fine Arts and Performing Arts

Discovered James Joyce, W.B Yeats Greek mythology and a passion for acting.

1975 Visited UK, France, Max Ernst exhibition

Studio View, Beyoglu, Istanbul 2008

17.30 Levent 2008. Oil on canvas, 100x120

awarded distinction

1991 Master of Art exhibition,

to do a Masters in Fine Art

1989 Returned to Grahamstown

Paris, London, Amsterdam, Dusseldorff, Vienna: Bonnard, Kieffer, De Kooning, Goya, Debuffet, Hockney, Beuys

1987 Visited art centres of Europe

I returned to my home town, Grahamstown to do my Masters in Painting. In a small town you see the same streets, the same buildings and the same faces and in this way recurrent symbols of everyday life become more intimate.

And there’s that sense of catching something, a glimmer of light, a fish which could get away.


It goes beyond the world of appearances but also refers back to it.

under supervision of poet Don MacLennan “Netting reality” : The imaginative transformation of quotidian experience in the paintings of Bonnard and Vuillard, with reference to aspects of the novels of Virginia Woolf.”

1992 Masters thesis

‘Listen to the silences,’ he said, pointing to the mystery of what can scarce be touched let alone understood. It was his way of saying he had chosen to live in us as the colours of a Vuillard painting come from an insistent emptiness that begs, “fill me with the reality of light.” Maclennan

Catch 2008. Oil on canvas, 2 x (120 x 120 cm)

Myth, Oil on canvas 2009 100 x 120 cm

London, Amsterdam and Barcelona. Father died while in Barcelona. Gaudi, Miro, exhibition of late Picasso

1999 Travelled with Mark Muller to

at Tate Gallery, London

1997 Visited Bonnard retrospective

“Pilgrims” Chelsea Gallery, Newlands Founded artist’s group the “Boudoir Biscuits” with Jenny Parsons and Mary Visser

1995 First Cape Town solo exhibition:

1993 Returned to Cape Town to teach


Passage and Journey Home and Identity Transience and Permanence History and Modernity

Travelling to Gaziantep and Urfa, Aleppo and Damascus (Syria) and in my books, the Zeugma mosaics; mosques and ruins; profiles of cities, men, women and children emerge. But what remains back in the studio is less easily deciphered: a particular feeling of space and light; a line drawn by an ancient hand.

Jane Young ceramicist. Barcelona inspired paintings and the beginning of the composite series “Another View� Son Tem born 6 July Association of Visual Arts solo exhibition,Cape Town

2001 Karen McKerron Gallery, Johannesburg: exhibition with

Istanbeeld, Oil on canvas 120x120 cm

Istanbul in its rich borek stuffed layers, in its often jarring contrasts: therein lies the beauty that interests me as a painter of contemporary cities.

Travelling East II, Oil on canvas 120x120 cm

I have always been interested in the layers of paintings and the layers of cities: how the surface, or the skin of both continues to register what lies beneath.

As the City Wakes 2005. Oil on canvas, 129 x 161 cm

Cape Town Imprints: Works on paper. (group exhibition) Axis Gallery New York Design of stained glass windows for St Joseph’s College, Cape Town

2005 “New Work” (Diana Page and Jane Young) Irma Stern Art Museum,

South Africa’s New Constitutional Court (Boudoir Biscuits)

2003 Carpet design commission for

Visited USA and first trip to New York

2002 Moved into All Stars Studio run by South African artist, Sue Williamson

Jazz City III 2004. Oil on canvas, 195 x 140 cm


2006 Moved to Istanbul

In Istanbul I have become interested in exploring the frontiers of space: city and water, surface and depth, noise and silence - and by extension, history and modernity as I experience them in the city.

‘Galata Improvisation’, was a celebration of my initial love for the city. Perhaps beauty or its discovery, like memory, is not something passive but is actually part of an active process of discovery and rediscovery.

the Bosphoros all lit up and vast in the early morning across a puzzle of rooves and satellite dishes

Rosemary’s View, 2009. Oil on canvas, 120x120 cm

Galata Improvisation 2008. Oil on canvas, 2x (120 x120 cm)

To us, in the dawn, ships, slipping quietly through the city, transport our dreams. Or sometimes, in their


freight cargo, it seems they carry the whole city out on their decks to disappear into the Black Sea.

I never thought of myself as a “water painter�. But I suppose it has a lot to do with where l have lived and worked. Istanbul and Cape Town are both harbour cities, also strategic passageways geographically and historically.

Swimmer Frieze 2009. Oil on canvas, 100 x 120 cm

Wave 2010. Oil on canvas, 120 x 120 cm

Bozcaada Ship 2009. Oil on canvas, 100 x 100 cm

Yeats’s “long legged fly upon the stream”.

Dawn, 2009. Oil on canvas, 120x120 cm

The ship steals across the dawn, suspended on stalks of light, a tight rope walker -


360 Istanbul, Beyoglu

2007 Night Fishing: installation and exhibition,

Solo exhibition designed and curated in collaboration with Katherine Mann.

2006 Unknown cities, Woodstock, Cape Town.

The small paintings particularly, are collected or netted moments of my experiences here in Istanbul, but always in constant collision with traces of thoughts, memories, imaginings perhaps rooted in other places

Red Freighter, 2007. Oil and enamel house paint on board, 31 x 45 cm

sound performance and video, Red Hook, Brooklyn New York city. Independent Visitor, Platformgaranti, Istanbul

The installation operates around the idea of illusion; it questions how and what we see, and asserts the importance of imagination as we each seek to construct our own reality.

2008 ### Ampersand Fellowship“Pitch Blue”

The viewer’s eye constantly shifts between the glossy, gestural surface of the paint itself, and the immense distant views through the glass windows. Similarly the viewer’s search for, and finding of recognizable reference points, spire, bridge, satellite dish, in the paintings, is echoed in the views beyond.

Galata, Istanbul

In the#360 installation the modernist concerns of surface and depth are extended into the city environment. The paintings operate electrically as moments in time, extracted from the sweeping views in front of which they hang.

2007 “Kadinin Sesleri” sound performance and video,

Night Fishing 360: Collected Moments

Cinematic moments in the city,


the modern and the gritty, the ancient and the mysterious.

I discovered charcoal doing my Masters.I have loved it since then - it’s like drawing with velvet.

Times Square, 2004. Charcoal on paper, 50 x 70 cm

Passage, 2007. Charcoal on paper, 34 x 50 cm

Tarabya Night, 2008. Charcoal on paper, 34 x 50 cm

Kadinin Sesleri & Pitch Blue

Performance & Video

“Kadinin Sesleri” (Istanbul) and “Pitch Blue” (New York) Diana Page, the director of “Kadinin Sesleri’’, is an artist from Cape Town South Africa, who has lived in Istanbul for the past three years. She is currently moving between countries, and between media, having recently returned from New York where she collaborated with New York performers, producing and documenting a sound performance on a Brooklyn rooftop entitled “Pitch Blue”. The piece explores the concepts of home and exile, longing and belonging. Kadinin Sesleri performed and documented in November 2007 was the touchstone for Pitch Blue. For Page, the work emerges out of a global consciousness and her current nomadism, as a citizen of South Africa and as a resident, artist, and traveler between cities.

“The drop that forms in the evening is round, many coloured....”

The sister piece “Kadinin Sesleri” was produced on two rooftops in Galata during 2007 as part of a one day art event, “The Visibility Project” organized by Galataperform. Kadinin Sesleri was inspired by the resonant sound environment of Istanbul but sought to bring the voices of women into the public sound space. The piece uses megaphones to project the voices of the women across the city, but also to create a particular quality of vocals ubiquitous in the public soundscape of Istanbul. The gentleness of the women’s voices also acts in opposition to the megaphone, an instrument often used for aggressive persuasion. The performers in Kadinin Sesleri were all women Diana Page had met in her wanderings, as a newcomer to the city.

The piece brings together the journeys of five women, including that of the artist, all currently living in Istanbul but hailing from different cultural contexts. The evolution of both the works is integral to their meaning: connecting with people, physically or through the Web, then meeting with the performers and finding suitable rooftops. The piece has as its backdrop, the city of Istanbul itself, a visual and evocative presence as it appears on each different rooftop. Equally important, is the performers’ momentary awareness in responding to one another and to the city environment into which they perform, building an intimacy.

I want to drip paint, saturate with it, splurge it, let it run free

Sea Life, 2008. Oil on canvas, 23 x 27 cm


South Mediteranean coast of Turkey

2008 Artist’s residency, Datca

The watercolours I did in Datca have taken me into a new space on the canvas.

(birthplace of grandmother) Beylerbeyi Palace exhibition of international artists Journeyed to Aleppo and Damascus, Syria

2009 Visited Yorkshire, England

I grew up in a small university town in South Africa called Grahamstown, whose lineaments became as familiar to me as the lines on my own hand. I have grown to cherish my childhood in this slow-change town which provided an altogether different experience of space, time, and light. I also longed to leave its close familiarity, enticed by unknown cities like Cape Town, Paris, New York.

The artist in her own words

My father, a research psychologist, nurtured within me a far reaching curiosity and a healthy distrust of authority. My mother, the artist Lindsay Page, immersed me in art. She showed me Henry Moore sculptures, and introduced me to the work of Pierre Bonnard. I remember a magnificent painting of women in a sauna she did. It made Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon look tame. There was also my grandmother, Constance Little, who, not only sang, acted and wrote stories for the length of her 95 years, she also did fine silk embroideries of birds. As a child I would watch her laying out her skeins of silk in carefully gradated Cezanne greys. Then slowly her birds would emerge out of the floating world of the silk ground. Perhaps it was the childhood allure of unknown cities that found me recently on a rooftop in Red Hook Brooklyn, NYC directing the filming of ‘Pitch Blue’.

From Cape Town to New York, from London to Istanbul I have walked and painted the city. Traversing the city, I am a free agent, observing and thinking, drawing and dreaming. Back in the solitude of the studio, forging a visual language to express my thoughts and observations about cities has become my life’s quest.

Page has given herself licence to explore

the very ‘citiness’ of cities. Her fascination is kept alive by the freedom she has given herself.

Her paintings are modern, tough, bright and brimming with energy.

Through the eyes of others


‘Her spirited mixed media contribution is

full of light and movement.

It’s a joyful celebration - an explosion of colour, line and loose shapes. Here’s a ‘landscape’ that’s not a view of the ‘real’ world but a lifeaffirming viewpoint that issues from sensory and emotional experience.’ CAPE TIMES 2001

painterly types like Page seem effortlessly

to allow their paints to take on a life of their own with the most delicious results.’ ARGUS TONIGHT 1995

She appears to be unassuming and selfcontained: but don’t let appearances mislead you. She listens. The seemingly mild demeanor hides a passionate pilgrim’s soul full of steely determination. Her energetic strokes emerge on canvas in a myriad of colours. Be they brash and loud, or soft and dreamy, they create a harmony of coexistence, without imposing a fixed point of view. Diana does not preach her love for Istanbul: instead, she extends an invitation, leaves a door ajar. Enter this space and you’ll discover the profound secrets of place, where the ugly and mundane have a purpose, where there is solitude, reflection, dream.

Her work is a visual mosaic of our lives in the big city: complex, unpredictable, sometimes full of colour, sometimes black and white - always exciting. LUCY BOSCHER Istanbul 2010

Pitch Blue: Director: Diana Page 1st Cameraman: Helen Tschudi, Klara Palotoi 2nd Cameraman: Lisa Van Wyk Photography: Gary van Wyk; Diana Page Performers: Tammy Hall; Sharla Meese;Carmen Santos; Sayda Trujillo; Saori Tsudaki Cape Town: +27 21 7884591 Istanbul:

Hosted by Axis Gallery, New York City in conjunction with the Ampersand Foundation, Johannesburg.

+90 5366765245 Cape Town/ Istanbul/ New York


Contact information

Kadinin Sesleri Director: Diana Page Cameraman: Erdem Ayvazoglu Photography: Elio Montinari Performers: Songul Can, Uma Fusun, Lisa Meyer, Joanna Wulfsberg

Book Design & Art direction: Laura van Erkelens Photography: Nuray Uysal Special thanks to Lucy Boscher

Walking on a rim of light, Charcoal on paper, 35 x 50 cm

The wondering artist; Diana Page  

A book that tells the story of Diana Page. An artist on the road somewhere between Africa and Turkey. She divides her time between the solit...

The wondering artist; Diana Page  

A book that tells the story of Diana Page. An artist on the road somewhere between Africa and Turkey. She divides her time between the solit...