Chains of Resistance: The Echo of Silence in Abkhazia

Author and artist: Salina Abaza

"untitled" looks into the state of stillness and freeze following the Georgian Abkhazian war in 1992/3 and its consequences that still haunts the territory of Abkhazia. Abkhazia, once an extremely vital place is now left ousted from the international community, crippeled with post-war economy, corruption, trauma and violence.

In this work, I freeze time in an object to examine the tension and anxiety in different relationships: a future unhealed from the past, an individuality entangled with collective history, progress seeking a safe distance from tradition, chained motion, movement and lack-of.

The work is a mixed media sculpture and installation, made from found rusted chains and rotten tree trunks, and a feather. 

On a personal note, and blacksmithing is stereotyped to be a gender-specified profession and with a certain sanctity to it that relates to the ancient mythologies of creation, working with metal and welding was a personal experiment with pushing the gender boundaries in relation to the material.  

It also speaks to my experience of "returning home" and to my roots, while trying to guard my sense of freedom and expression, in which case, I try to lift my boundaries instead of succumbing to them. 

The construction of the work was performed in a live stream in February 2022 in parallel to the opening of the exhibition “Post-Post Queer Caucasus” organized by Untitled Tbilisi and The Institute for Endotic Research in Berlin, Germany.

I collaborated with artist and curator Giorgy Rodionov to recreate a replica with the simple instruction of reproducing a similar tension to the one in the original work and then to present it in the exhibition next to the streaming of the performance of creating the original work.

This form of presentation was an important element in adding more depth to the question of freedom of mobility existing in the work, and the freedom of the artwork itself from the artist, where it can be reproduced with simple instructions.

Later in March 2022 the work was exhibited in Sukhum, Abkhazia in a group exhibition with other participants of the “In the Shadow of Big Trees” residency."

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