Artist Lola Jiblazee’s New Exhibition Draws On Her Upbringing In Eastern Europe Living With Civil War, Curfews & PTSD

Lola Jiblazee “Chanel in Seattle” 2020, Acrylic on Canvas

One of our fave art galleries in New York City, The Untitled Space, is presenting a new virtual solo exhibition from NYC-based artist Lola Jiblazee titled ‘True World Story’, available to view from Tuesday July 21st, 2020 and on view through October 21st, 2020. As the United States comes to grips with increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, and many states facing the very real possibility of another lockdown, Lola’s work is both timely and contemplative given her own background growing up in Eastern Europe.

Lola originally hails from Tbilisi, Georgia. She primarily works with acrylic paint and digital forms to create her art. Influenced in her formative years by strong female role models during Georgia’s Civil War, Lola developed a passion to echo the empowerment of women. Lola’s latest series “TRUE WORLD STORY” explores hope, love, and courage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolated during the lockdown, Lola turned to social media and asked her followers to share their positive quarantine stories. Those stories helped Lola to fight off her own anxieties and inspired her latest series, with each painting including the personal story of her subjects. 

Lola grew up in the Republic of Georgia in the nineties during their Civil War. She had been under curfew and isolated, went without water and electricity, and was separated from loved ones for months. Those experiences greatly affected how she viewed the world. She struggled to overcome the PTSD that ensued but the experiences also made her stronger. Through her artwork, she attempts to convey how others can find joy in simple things which can help overcome tough times and remind people how beautiful life can be.

Below are a handful of highlights from Untitled Space‘s virtual viewing room with a snapshot of the stories you can read about accompanying each image in her series.

Here’s the story of the lead image in this article: Chanel, Seattle, Washington: “Think about this – when it comes down to it, the true essence of life is measured in our experiences. That means that being rich in experiences is the new wealth. You never get time back; isn’t time the most valuable commodity we have? When I started critical care nursing, I knew that it was. I have invested my time in people and have received an abundant return. A wealth of experiences. My name is Chanel, I am 35, a critical care nurse on the frontline of the pandemic and I am rich in experiences as a nurse. Through the fog COVID-19 has given us the space to think about where are we investing our time. Use it. Although the current global health climate, especially for us as healthcare workers, is panicky and at times draining. And I may not know if this is something even I make it out of, but I know I am doing what I love and that’s nurse.

Lola Jiblazee “Loretta in Switzerland” 2020 – Acrylic on Canvas

Loretta, Switzerland: “Like most people, when this all started, I was telling myself I had to use this time extra productively so I’d have something to show for at the end of it. And everyone else seemed to excel at being productive while I was finding it impossible to focus on anything, I still can’t even get through a whole film. Made me feel like I was failing at quarantining. So I decided to use this opportunity to live hedonistically for the time being – so now I only do what I’m in the mood for, and some days that’s red wine for breakfast. Sanity over productivity!”

Lola Jiblazee “Yonah, Kat and Andre in NYC” 2020 – Acrylic on Canvas

Yonah, Kat, and Andre, New York, New York: “Yonah arrived in March, and almost immediately after, I was hospitalized with an infection and flu. My mom took care of Yonah at her apartment while Andre and my grandmother stayed with me. It was the beginning of the Covid panic, the hospital looked like a war zone, the doctors and nurses could barely keep up with anyone’s care. For days, they couldn’t confirm my diagnosis while my fevers reached 105 degrees. It was the first time I’ve been scared about my health; but it was a different kind of fear – I just wanted to be able to see my son. My mom would send us photos so that we felt present for every outfit change, facial expression, etc., but it just made me feel more anxious and impatient to see Yonah. Now that we’re together, I don’t take a single moment for granted and am embracing being cooped up in a one bedroom apartment, even when it feels boring or scary”

Lola Jiblazee “Jordan in Brooklyn” 2020, Acrylic on Canvas

Jordan, Brooklyn, New York: “Because I’m a wildly shy introvert, with the wildly useful skill of pretending to be an extrovert, isolation isn’t really that difficult. But, what IS proving to be difficult, are the incessant unknowns- that every morning has this strange dystopian quality to it, this slippery unease. This solitude requires of us a harkening back to some kind of simplicity; what feels safe, when there isn’t much safety? I had read a book where the author spoke of how the Greek root of the word “crisis” means to sift. When I’m lost in a book, the world falls into the peripheral just enough; my mental landscape starts shift. I can see new colors, I can appreciate the old colors. Perspective. Connection. Sifting. Right now, the whole world is in the process of sifting; what’s essential? What do we take for granted? How do we protect each other? We’re all taking part in a complicated, and painful, and hopefully, redemptive story. And this chapter will indeed, end. But in the meantime, I’ll be in the tub reading…”

Artist Lola Jiblazee