Visualising War and Peace

Art and War with Diana Forster

April 28, 2021 The University of St Andrews Season 1 Episode 4
Visualising War and Peace
Art and War with Diana Forster
Show Notes

In this week's episode, Alice and Nicolas interview artist Diana Forster. Diana has created some extraordinary conflict art based around her mother's experiences of being forcibly displaced and imprisoned in labour camps in Soviet Russia during  World War 2. Through Diana's work, we explore the way that visual artists can take relatively unknown war stories and create dynamic new ways of giving voice to them, disrupting traditional habits of visualising war in the process. Diana's conflict art is exquisitely beautiful, drawing viewers in with delicate shapes and charming colours, rather than repelling or horrifying us with brutal images. This got us talking about art's ability to open up conversations and to highlight humanity and resilience in narratives of displacement and struggle. 

Among other questions, we asked Diana:

  • What kinds of war art have inspired her in the past and what kinds of war art does she try to avoid?
  • How does she choose her subject matter, and why does she focus on ordinary people's day-to-day experiences of conflict?
  • Why does she make her war art look so beautiful?
  • What wider messages about war is she trying to communicate with her art?
  • What impact does she think art can have on a community's habits of thinking about war?

We hope you enjoy the episode!

For a version of our podcast with close captions, please visit If you would like to see the images discussed in this podcast, you can find bonus material on our project blog.  To follow Diana, and find out more about her upcoming exhibitions, please have a look on her website.

For more information about individuals and their projects, access to resources and more, please have a look on the University of St Andrews Visualising War website

Music composed by Jonathan Young
 Sound mixing by Zofia Guertin