About This Project

Diana CherenNygren


I Believe I Can Fly

This series envisions young children as contemporary society’s superheroes. Superheroes have long occupied a central position in American popular culture. Society turns to superhero narratives in times of unrest as a source of hope. In the superhero narrative, right and wrong are clearly defined, and right will ultimately triumph. From generation to generation, the qualities those heroes embody have changed to reflect the best type of leader believed to confront the challenges of the moment.

I Spy

Children’s tendency to play superhero has a slightly different significance. They imagine themselves as safe, strong, and in control.  The more out of control reality, the more intense the need to believe that control is possible. For many adults, the world now feels out of control to a degree we have never experienced before. 

Exit Here

I have watched my own children grow from childhood innocence into jaded young adulthood. I both miss their youthful embrace of the world, and admire the determination with which they now try to change it. In this work, I transform images of my children when they were younger into superheroes. I have given them brightly colored capes, a celebration of the beauty of the confidence with which, unfazed by the desolation around them, they believe that anything is possible.

Open Flame

This work explores the idea that children, with their ability to continue to hope and dream, to use their imaginations to embrace the world and possibility, are the superheroes society needs to grapple with the challenges in front of us. 

Dirty Water

This work also depicts a mother’s concern for her children. There is underlying impotence to their efforts to play at power. In their vulnerability and helplessness, they embody the anxiety of a society on the brink, struggling to believe in the future, unable to confront true accountability for its actions.


5th edition