Born in Russia and now living and working in Montreal, Olga Chagaoutdinova creates photo and video-based art that examines domesticity, globalization, and, most recently, suffering in contemporary society. Her work reflects her “fascination with cultural codes whose exchanges construct personal identity, values, and collective and individual memories.”

Chagaoutdinova has received numerous awards for her work, most notably the Magenta Foundation's Flash Forward International Competition (2007), the Foundation de Sève Award (2005), the Power Corporation of Canada Graduate Fellowship, and the Roloff Benny Fellowship in Photography (2006). In 2008/2009, Canadian Art magazine named her one of the Top 10 MFA graduates in the country.

Chagaoutdinova has exhibited her work widely in Canada, Europe, Cuba and Russia. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of a number of national and international institutions including: Hydro Québec, the Far East Museum of Fine Art in Khabarovsk, Russia, and the Kebola Collection in Havana, Cuba, and the Musee National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec. A photographic discourse of her work currently appears in CV84 magazine with an accompanying critical essay entitled Back to the Future by noted Canadian art critic and artist Gary Michael Dault. Chagaoutdinova holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Montreal's Concordia University, and a degree from Vancouver's Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.

Chagaoutdinova’s Russian Pictures Series and Cuban Pictures Series, photographed from 2004-2007, examine visual evidence of both countries’ transformation from socialism to capitalism by capturing, quite literally, the contents of people’s private lives. In living rooms, kitchens and hallways, Eastern and Western iconographies simultaneously clash and converge. Domesticity thereby offers compelling visual evidence of social transformation via syncretism; whereby a dominant cultural ideology begins to supplant another.

The transition from socialism to capitalism in the last seventeen years has made Russia a member of the global community. Economic changes have profoundly impacted upon the lives of the people: what they appreciate, what they value, all have changed. The goal of this project is to explore the visual evidence of a culture in transition. The photographic study focuses on aesthetics, iconographic resurgence and cultural transformation. Alterations in living space juxtapose ironies of advertising. Personal history is recontextualized by Russia’s collision with modern capitalism. Not only does east meet west in these photos, but eastern and western values clash, deconstruct, and reframe. In the photographic images, each “home”, each “personal” space, provides an opportunity for insight into cultural traditions, their persistence and their transformation. Each home reflects economic realism and mirrors emerging political values. In this way, “home” can be seen as a microcosm of the macro-changes in modern Russian culture. The Russian picture series continues as an ongoing project.

Cuban pictures series was realized in Cuba in 2007, following the artist’s previous collection, “Russian Pictures Series”, realized between 2004 and 2006. With this second project Chagaoutdinova pursues artistic research on domesticity as a microcosm of society and as a unique source of visual information, where the individual belongings of the past juxtapose the influx of the present. The intimate domestic scenes in the photographs document the tides of change from the people's point of view and provide information for a cultural and iconographic analysis in both Cuba and Russia. Chagaoutdinova is fascinated by syncretism, of how a dominant culture asserts itself, and grafts over the symbols and values of another culture. How do we reconcile the differences and common elements of coexisting cultures for the purpose of finding a way for cultural identity?

Both series have one thing in common – the artist's own intentional oscillation between artistic distance and the intense intimacy of discovery. This duality permeates Chagaoutdinova’s work, creating a palpable tension that is rarely broken or resolved. It is in this way, from where and how she is as an artist, as an observer and researcher, that Olga Chagaoutdinova looks from the outside into the things that have been familiar to her in the past, visually registering them and sharing them with others. Whether it is Russian apartments that contain layered cultural references dramatically transformed during the past decade, or the reality of Cuban life with its knots of contradiction and historical controversy, Chagaoutdinova examines from the perspective of an outsider, an outsider who knows that history from within.

In STOM-ACHE, Chagaoutdinova presents two new videos—STORM-ACHE and STONE-ACHE—and a series of photographic works that depict her in disturbing scenes in which themes of tragedy, suffering, and fatality are explored. The artist searches for the pain that settles deep in the stomache—pain that might have been felt by older members of her family while living in a tormented pre-Glasnost Soviet Union, yet remains genetically imprinted within her generations later. Ms. Chagaoutdinova steps into self-representation, giving viewers a glimpse of her vulnerability, further exploring the feminist aspects of her art practice.


2008 Master of Fine Arts, Photography, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
2005 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Photography, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (ECIAD), Vancouver, British Columbia
1998 Graduate Study, Historical Culturology specialty, Republican Institute for Humanities, St. Petersburg, Russia
1995 Certificate of Culturology, Republican Institute for Humanities under the State University, St. Petersburg, Russia
1993 Certificate of History of Religion, Pedagogical Institute, Khabarovsk, Russia
1993 Bachelor of Arts, Russian Language and World Literature, Pedagogical
University, Khabarovsk, Russia

2013 The Zone, X-Border Biennial, Rovaniemi, Finlande
2013 Un-ravelling, Galerie Trois Points, Montreal, Quebec
2012 Madre Russia. Asolo Art Film Festival, Asolo, Italy.
2011 In the Time of Sakura. Trois Points Gallery, Montreal, Quebec
2010 Parallel Stories, The Pabellón Cuba, Havana, Cuba
2010 STOM-ACHE, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario
2010 STOME-ACHE, Center Regart, Levis, Quebec, Canada
2010 Y Vieron la Luz, Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad de Camagüey, Camagüey, Cuba
2010 Parallel Stories, Two artists show, The Pabellón Cuba, Havana, Cuba
2009 STOM-ACHE, Gallery Trois Points, Montreal, Quebec
2008 Islands, Far East Museum of Fine Art, Khabarovsk, Russia
2008 Cuban Pictures Series, Gallery Trois Points, Montreal, Quebec
2006 The Zone, Far East Museum of Fine Art, Khabarovsk, Russia

2013 Habiter sa couleur, Aires Libres, Village, Montreal, Quebec
2013 Mother Russia, The Salt Yard Gallery, Center for Contemporary
Photography, Hong Kong, China
2013 Esker Foundation, Calgary, Alberta
2012 "2+2" Centro de Desarrollo de Las Artes Visuales (CDAV), Havana, Cuba
2012 Houston Biennial FotoFest 2012, Houston, USA
2012 Papier 12 Contemporary Art Fair, Montreal, Quebec
2012 PMG Editions Project, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario
2010 The Triumph of the Therapeutic, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario
2010 International Festival of Photography Photovisa, Krasnodar, Russia
2010 Pingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao, China
2010 Living Things, Dazibao, Montreal, Quebec
2010 Parallel Stories, The Pabellón Cuba, Havana, Cuba
2009 Microcosm, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario
2009 Preoccupations: Photographic Explorations of the Grey Nuns Mother
House, FOFA Gallery, Montreal, Quebec
2009 Objets de L’exil, Gallery Nikki Diana Marquardt, Paris, France
2008 McCord Project, McCord Museum, Montreal, Quebec
2007 Habitat, Centro Hispano-Americano de la Havana, Havana, Cuba
2006 Ignition, Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Montreal, Quebec
2006 Gallery Trois Points, Montreal, Quebec
2006 LUSID, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
2006 Budget, M.F.A. Group Show, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
2005 Picture this, a parallel group show, Vancouver, British Columbia
2004 Fantasy Group Show, Concourse Gallery, ECIAD, Vancouver, British Columbia

2012 Eleonora Duse Award. Asolo International ArtFilm Festival, Asolo, Italy
2012 AFA Production Grant, Alberta, Canada
2012 Connecting Calgary Grant, Calgary, Alberta
2012 FPAC ACAD, Calgary, Alberta
2011 Nomination for Kandinsky Award, Moscow, Russia
2011 Travel Grant, Quebec Council for the Arts
2011 Travel Grant, Canadian Council for the Arts
2010 Research/Creation Grant, Canada Council for the Arts
2010 Travel Grant, Quebec Council for the Arts
2009 Travel Grant, Quebec Council for the Arts
2008 Travel Grant, Canadian Council for the Arts
2008 Travel Grant for Academic Conference, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
2008 Travel Allocation Grant, CIAM, Montreal, Quebec
2007 Joyce Melville Memorial Scholarship, Montreal, Quebec
2007 British Columbia Arts Council Senior Award
2007 Project Allocation Grant, CIAM, Montreal, Quebec
2007 Travel Allocation Grant, CIAM, Montreal, Quebec
2006 Roloff Beny Travel Fellowship in Photography, Concordia University
Montreal, Quebec
2006 Power Corporation of Canada Graduate Fellowship, Concordia
University, Montreal, Quebec
2006 Graduate Fellowship, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
2005 DeSeve Entrance Fellowship in Photography, Concordia University,
Montreal, Quebec
1998 Award for research on traditional ornaments of native people in Far-
East Russia, Institute of Sustainable Community, Washington, DC

2011 Kandinsky Award. Catalogue, Moscow, Russia
2010 Cary Michael Dauil, CV magazine, February issue, Montreal, Quebec
2009 Emergence, book on contemporary photography, ed. Sarah Parsons, Gallery 44 & Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario
2009 Preoccupations: Photographic Explorations of the Grey Nuns Mother House, exhibition catalogue, editor Martha Langford, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
2009 Annie Lafleur, “From Russia with Love. Olga Chagaoutdinova. La mémoire du présent retrouvé.” OVNI, vol. 2, Montreal, Quebec, p. 32
2008 Leah Sandals, “Class of 2008,” Canadian Art, Winter, vol. 25, no. 4, Toronto, Ontario, p. 62
2007 Habitat, exhibition catalogue, Havana, Cuba
2006 Sophie Hackett, “Russian Pictures,” Magenta Magazine, Winter, vol. 1, no. 3, Toronto, Ontario, p. 30
2005 Anthology of Contemporary Canadian Photography, first edition, Carte Blanche Magenta Foundation, Toronto, Ontario
2005 Russian Pictures, PhotoEd, Winter issue, Magenta Foundation, Canada

2011 Artist Presentation/Lecture. State Center of Contemporary Art, Yekaterinburg, Russia
2010 Artist talk, Exhibition Y Vieron la Luz. Camagüey, Havana, Cuba
2010 Artist talk, STOME-ACHE. Patrick Michael Gallery, Ottawa, Canada
2008 Artist talk at the Far East Museum of Fine Art, Khabarovsk, Russia
2008 Workshop, “Cyanotype Photography,” Center of Che Guevara, Havana, Cuba
2007 Hispano-Americano Cultural Centre, Havana, Cuba
2006 Ludwig Foundation, Havana, Cuba

2011 Esse Magazine, Art-Auction. Museum of Fine Art, Montreal, Canada
2011 International Video-Film Festival VideoArte, Camagüey, Cuba
2011 "Meeting Place," International Portfolio Preview, Moscow, Russia
2010 Meeting Place,” International Portfolio Preview, Houston, Texas
2009 Santa Fe Selected Artist Portfolio Preview, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2008 “Aquarelle” video, Official Selection, Experimental Video Art Category, VI Festival Internacional del Cine Pobre, Holguin, Cuba

2012 "Borderless" International Exhibition, Havana Biennale. Collateral Event. Curator. Havana, Cuba

Collection of National Bank of Canada
Collection Prêt d’oeuvres d’art
Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec, Quebec City
Centro Hispano-Americano de la Havana, Havana, Cuba
Far East Museum of Fine Art, Khabarovsk, Russia
Hydro Quebec Permanent Corporate Collection, Montreal, Quebec
Andy Pilara Collection, San-Francisco, California

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