Kadi Estland (1973) is a textile artist by education and her feminist work relies on the method of critical deconstruction. One of the focal points of Estland’s work is the relationship between the individual and the system – she tells stories about vulnerable people in the contemporary world. By combining expensive and cheap materials or vernacular with high culture quotes, Estland creates emotional works that highlight the processes of reproduction of the patriarchy.

Since the beginning of the 2000s Kadi Estland’s (official name Kadi Soosalu) feminist work has shaped contemporary Estonian art and during that period she worked both individually and as part of collectives such as Valie Export Society, The Elfriede Jelinek School of English Language and Feminismiehitaja. These collectives focused on articulating women’s rights and possibilities in Estonia at the end of the 1990s and in the beginning of the 2000s. Estland is also the founder and manager of the artist-run-space Nancy Nakamura Ideederiiul (Tallinn, 2013–2015), and free clothing store and community centre Suburbia Kopopola (with Minna Hint, Tallinn, 2015).

One of Estland’s earliest appearances was together with Ele Praks and Helen Lehismets at the exhibition “Töötud armastajad” (Unemployed Lovers, 1999) at the Tallinn Art Hall Gallery. The exhibited set of embroidered pieces titled “Kuidas elatakse Ameerikas?” (How do they live in America?) evoked autobiographical narratives, where the artist’s notes and comments played an important role, alluding to the possibility of other kinds of experiences. Through the personal nature of Estland’s embroidery the work also acquired a political meaning and her conscious decision to use craft techniques was guided by an ideological principle.

In 1999 Estland founded the collective Valie Export Society together with Killu Sukmit and Mari Laanemets, borrowing its name from the Australian feminist artist Valie Export. With performances in public spaces the artists recreated Valie Export’s artistic interventions, adapting them to the cultural context of the newly independent Estonia. For example, during the intervention “Homomeeter II” (a remake of Valie Export’s “Homo Meter II”, 1976) the artists walked the streets of Tallinn, each with a loaf of bread attached to their stomach, offering slices of bread to passers-by. In “From the Portfolio of Doggishness” (2000) the members of the group walked around Tallinn with the art critic Hanno Soans tied to a leash (a reference to Valie Export’s work “Aus der Mappe der Hundigkeit”, 1968).

The site specific installation “Shabby Chic. Krooniline cool’i puudus” (Shabby Chic. The Chronic Lack of Cool, 2013) in the display windows of Gallery Noorus, combined objects, images and texts, and used the window as a medium that is easy to read for every citizen and visitor to shopping centres due to a lifelong familiarity. The series of display windows offered a feminist comment and critique on stereotypical opinions and attitudes prevalent in Estonian society.

In 2016 Kadi Estland published a collage titled “Minu munn on puhas” (My Prick in Clean), creating a remake of Vano Allsalu’s and Jaan Toomik’s 1989 work of the same title. The collage shows a photo taken at the 10th anniversary party of the Kumu Art Museum, published in the Estonian media, depicting, among others, Sirje Helme, director of the Art Museum of Estonia, and Martin Helme, her son and one of the leaders of the populist rightwing Conservative People’s Party of Estonia. With this work Estland drew attention to the Kumu party’s role in boosting the politician’s reputation.

Just as in previous exhibitions, “vomiting and crying, vomiting and crying: you are my sister, you are my sister” (2019) at Tartu Art Museum exhibited Estland’s installations that could be replicated by anyone, by combining simple and on-hand materials with symbolically charged meanings. This medium was chosen to oppose art that strives for technical perfection, often doing so with considerable financial cost and prioritising form over meaning.

Kadi Estland studied textile design at the Estonian Academy of Art (BA, 1999). She has exhibited her work at “Anglers. Silvia Jõgever and Kadi Estland” (Kumu Art Museum, 2019), “vomiting and crying, vomiting and crying: you are my sister, you are my sister” (Tartu Art Museum, 2019), “The X-Files [Registry of the Nineties]” (Kumu Art Museum, 2018), “Kõhe tunne?! / Feeling Queezy?!” (Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, 2015), “Prada Pravda” (ART IST KUKU NU UT festival, 2013), “Archaeology and the Future of Estonian Art Scenes” (Kumu Art Museum, 2012), “EEsti feministliku kunsti kaanoni visand. Vol 1” (A Draft for a Feminist canon of E-Estonia. Vol 1), “LadyFest Tallinn” (Y-galerii, 2013) and “Tahapanija” together with Killu Sukmit (Draakoni galerii, Tallinn, 2013). In 2015 she received the Annual Art Award of the Estonian Cultural Endowment. Her works are part of the Art Museum of Estonia, Tartu Art Museum and private collections.



The artist also provides documentation of when the artists (all of them) have public health care and a fair fee for their work and talents.


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