Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

Child's drawing about climate change. Image links to event page.



CANCELLED: Teaching through Plants / Follow the Plants
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Please join the Harriman Institute for a lecture by Alevtina Kakhidze. Moderated by Valentina Izmirlieva.

With this lecture, Alevtina Kakhidze invites us to look into the plant world and see our surroundings through their perspective. The artist investigates the relationship between plants and humans, researching stable systems of plants, like the steppe or prairie, “invasive” and “tender” plants in relation to ecosystems, as well as perennial species that promise to be a step forward in agriculture in the face of climate change. Having developed strategies for rebalancing the plant world, for example through cooking and eating ‘invasive’ plants, Kakhidze invites us to reconsider our impact on local ecosystems. Having studied coloniality and invasiveness in the plant world, Kakhidze draws parallels with the Russian colonial war in Ukraine, now in its tenth year.

Alevtina Kakhidze is a Ukrainian multidisciplinary artist whose practice encompasses performance, drawing, time-based media, curation and collaborative works. Through her art, she investigates complex issues, from consumerism to plant culture, and from feminism to life in conflict zones. A native of the Donetsk region in Eastern Ukraine, she has experienced first-hand the chaotic political and environmental changes there, including the consequences of the ongoing Russian aggression. Alevtina attended the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Kiev (1999-2004) and the Jan van Eyck Academy in the Netherlands (2004-2006). Currently based in Muzychi, 26 kilometers from Kyiv, she has served as the UN Tolerance Envoy in Ukraine since 2018. She has been the recipient of numerous distinctions, including the inaugural Kazimir Malevich Artist Award in 2008.