Diane Khalo

Diane Khalo



I lived in El Paso, Texas as a young child, and spent most of my teen years in southern California, before our family moved to Berea, Kentucky in 1965. I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in art in 1973. During those years, my work focused on worker’s rights and anti-war politics.


During the mid-seventies, I lived in Athens-Greece and taught English. During this time, my work was strongly influenced by numerous factors, including the iconography of the Byzantine Church, Classical and Hellenistic Art and especially, the political climate of the time. I had moved to Athens just months after the student-lead the protest against the right-wing Papadopoulos dictatorship. Although I had been politically active as a college student, I had become less aware of world events during that period after graduating and trying to work to support myself and pay back student loans.  My exposure to the realities of U.S. intervention in Greece reawakened my political awareness.  After having lived in Athens for over two years, I returned to the U.S. re-politicized. Understanding the power of art to provoke dialog, my artwork focused on both global and regional social and political topics.


My life took many turns, including the birth of my daughter, a divorce and many years as a single parent. Obviously, there was little time to pursue art on a serious level, but I did try to do a few paintings each year just to maintain a certain level of skill. After my daughter had left home and was independent, I returned to art on a more serious level.


In the last 15 years my work has focused on exploitation and violence against women and populations dis-empowered by sexism, racism, xenophobia and poverty. Most recently I’ve concentrated on topics addressing the U.S./Mexican border, including immigration, racism, worker rights and gender violence.  In the last five years, I’ve focused on a large project about the feminicide in Ciudad Juárez. This body of work has been exhibited several places in Kentucky, Chicago, Missouri, San Francisco and Los Angeles and will travel to New Jersey this summer. Generous grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women have made this work possible.

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