arts and design

The mystery of the Georgian papier-mache horse – in pictures


Vija Skangale, a curator, grew up in Tbilisi, Georgia, in the 1980s, and now lives in London. One day, looking through childhood photos, she found an image of her four-year-old self atop a papier-mache horse at the local zoo. “All my Tbilisi friends have a similar photo,” she says, “but I knew nothing about the photographer.” So she posted on social media and was overwhelmed by the response. “People shared their own pictures and I connected with the photographer’s grandson.” She discovered that the pictures, roughly dating from 1960 to 2013, were taken by local photographer Victor Sukiasov, who had destroyed his archive before he died. This haunted Skangale: “I decided to honour his legacy, even though he didn’t think what he did was meaningful.” She set up a digital archive so that anyone can upload their own Sukiasov portrait with his prop horse. “Thousands have sat for him and will have memories triggered by looking at his work. I think collective memory is important.”



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