Eteri Chkadua, with her style dubbed “Magical Feminism,” tells us of her country’s history, traditions, and historical events.
Having emigrated from Georgia to the United States in 1988, Chkadua taught herself to paint in a realist style but with a surreal vein as a means to comment on the events of her home country and to reflect on the meaning and attachment to tradition. Often in her paintings, Chkadua recounts stories that are both everyday and surreal. For example, Ice Cream is a pretext for recounting the war in Abkhazia, a region of Georgia that has been involved in a conflict since 1991. Chkadua describes how a street ice cream vendor, passing by chance along the street where a shooting was taking place, miraculously stops the skirmishes as he passes, providing the pretext for a break between the two sides. In Black, the second painting by Chkadua, cites the tradition of “ormotsi,” a meal that is served 40 days after a funeral and marks the end of the family mourning period. However, among the many typical Georgian dishes on the laid table lies a HK416 rifle, an ominous sign of a conflict that is not yet over.
Eteri Chkadua (1965, Tbilisi, Georgia) lives and works in New York. She studied at the Academy of Arts in Tbilisi and moved to Chicago, USA, in 1988. Her work speaks about homesickness and memories through classical painting techniques; due to these features, her artworks have been described as “Magical Feminism” and “Hallucinatory Realism”. Chkadua represented Georgia at the 52nd Venice Art Biennale (2007); her works have been exhibited at Luna Kulturhus Consthalen, Sodertalje, Sweden; Aldrich Museum, Connecticut, USA; MUMOK, Vienna, Austria; the National Museum, Warsaw, Poland; Istanbul Modern Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, and Museum Of Modern Arts, Tbilisi, Georgia. She has won grants from Creative Time, New York, Foundation for the Arts and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.