In 1991, I packed my bags and boarded a plane to Haiti to live and work as the pharmacist in a small hospital of a village called Limbé. I was 18 years old with no pharmacy background. Upon arrival, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was sworn into power and life dissolved into a series of military coups, evacuations of foreigners, machete attacks and the complete disintegration of law and order. I stayed put through it all and survived. Then came the blow: a car accident in the Haitian countryside that would kill the person next to me, shatter my skull and half of my face, leaving me with three permanent, stainless-steel plates in my head. These are my markers.
Several years after Haiti, I passed by a mirror and caught sight of my reflection. The fractures and misalignments were evident, and suddenly aware of how stripped-down life is, it seemed vital to reflect and re-look. The Metal Head series comes through continuous hours in front of a mirror, face-mapping for signs and markers that follow a journey.
Michal Tkachenko is a Canadian visual artist. Based in London, UK, Michal received her MA Fine Arts from the Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, England. Her work has been exhibited across Canada, the United States, Africa and Europe and can be found in a number of collections.
Primarily a painter, she is interested in work that stimulates the senses. Past work looks at gluttony and food’s relationship to family, community and social pecking order. Michal is currently re-looking, reflecting and mapping her face, misaligned through a life-threatening accident 16 years ago. Recently she returned from living in Africa for a year where she spent her time documenting the effects of a 14-year civil war through a series of portraits.