Esther Glina Montagner was born in New York in 1950. She is a daughter of Polish Jews who came to America to start a new life after surviving the horrors of World War II. Great hope and responsibility came with being the first American born in the family. She was named after her grandmothers and aunt (all of whom perished). To keep their spirits alive and honor them, she always signs her artwork “Glina” (her maiden name).
Her series, "Those People," is an installation of 36 original oil paintings of suitcases with the names of her family members. In 2009, the Virginia Holocaust Museum installed “Those People” into their permanent collection. It was her personal journey to reclaim their names so they would no longer be silent.
This theme — to be heard — is foremost in all her work. She refers to it as 'shout outs,' telling the story of our times. Art has given her the language to express what she feels and believes, unfiltered. She has created a new visual voice with bold colors, intensity, and textures.
All of Glina's work starts with the title, and the rich images tell the story that you hear with your eyes, a time capsule of historical crises and current events.
Glina has a total disregard for the traditional stylistic progression; although she wants to be heard, she does not want to be herded into one signature style. This is why she is exploring abstraction and assemblages and desires to create more large-scale installations where there is the playfulness and freedom to try new materials and ideas.