Born in Johannesburg in 1988 and currently based in Cape Town, Alexandra Karakashian is an artist no strange to displacements. Working mainly as a painter on various formats, from canvas to paper, and also having produced installations, her art resists a quick interpretation, constantly dealing with a ubiquitous and intense mediation on the color black. Descendent of immigrants from Armenia, Karakashian is sensible to the implications politics can sustain over a people, an aspect translated by the apparent silence her paintings perform. Upon a closer inspection, though, the small details can resume considerable gestures. In some of her canvases Karakashian uses engine oil; through it, she not only acquires a new texture of black, but also confers the fuel that grants mobility an aesthetic status.
Alexandra Karakashian earned both her BFA and a MFA degree from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. Her work is part of international private and public collections, including the Iziko South African National Gallery. She was also awarded both the Judy Steinberg Painting Prize and the Simon Gerson Distinction Award.