Alevtina Kakhidze, From South to North, Malta Biennale, 13 mars – 31 mai 2024

Alevtina Kakhidze représente l’Ukraine à la première Biennale de Malte. 

On March 14th, Ukraine’s National Pavilion, entitled From South to North, will open at the 2024, a new European exhibition of international modern art. The project by Ukrainian artist Alevtina Kakhidze slated for exhibition at the Pavilion explores the topic of decolonization in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and intricate dynamics of the Mediterranean. The Pavilion is curated by Kateryna Semenyuk and Oksana Dovgopolova.

The inaugural will be held from March 13th to March 31st, 2024. The event aims to shape new narratives for the Mediterranean region as a cultural hub and reinvent the global perceptions of art and society by drawing on ideas originating in the far south of the European continent.

The Biennale is organized by MUŻA (the Malta National-Community Art Museum) on behalf of Heritage Malta (the Maltese national agency for museums, conservation practice, and cultural heritage) and Arts Council Malt (the national agency for development and investment in the cultural and creative sectors) under the patronage of UNESCO and the President of Malta.

The organizers of 2024 have gone with the pavilion approach, allocating one for the main exhibition and thematic/national ones for the participating countries and artists. The exhibition spaces will be set up in Malta’s architectural and historic heritage sites. Specifically, the Biennale’s activities will take place in Valletta, the capital of Malta and a UNESCO Heritage Site, as well as in the nearby Birgu, Bormla, Senglea, and Kalkara, with their numerous palazzos, forts, churches, and museums, and the picturesque island of Gozo.

About the project

The Ukrainian National Pavilion, entitled From South to North, was created by the Past / Future / Art memory culture platform in cooperation with the Odesa National Fine Arts Museum, NOS art production, and the Ukrainian Institute. Alevtina Kakhidze’s art project is focused on working through the imperial past, a matter of relevance for Ukraine and Malta alike. It symbolically connects Malta with Odesa—the gateway city that connects the Ukrainian steppe to the Mediterranean—and invites visitors to look from Malta in the direction of Ukraine, from South to North. This optic presents the port city of Odesa as being located not in the south of the Russian/Soviet empire but rather in the north of the Mediterranean region.

Alevtina Kakhidze’s project comprises a video piece, shot in Odesa in early 2024 in collaboration with fellow artist Roman Khimei, and multiple site-specific installations. Through the mirror of her family’s history, the artist analyzes how an empire has ruined the lives of generations and how its influence, although at times unnoticed, eventually manifests itself. Kakhidze superimposes the history of her own family on the events of the 20th century in Ukraine and Europe, while also drawing a connection to the 21st century by continuing the story via a narration of her personal experience during Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian Pavilion at offers a glimpse at the ramifications of relationships between colonies and empires that might be less evident for Europe,” Oksana Dolgopolova and Kateryna Semenyuk, who curate the Pavilion, explain. “The questions about the colonial past heard from the far south of Europe can reveal to the world Ukraine’s special position as a millennium-old civilization hub living in the shadow of imperial grievances and aggression.”