Shalva Kikodze – painter, graphic artist, one of the brightest representatives of the Tbilisi avant-garde movement. He was born in 1894 in the village of Bakhvi, Guria region in Georgia. In 1902-1912 he studied at the Tbilisi Gymnasium.
In 1914, on a scholarship from the Society for the Dissemination of Literacy Among Georgians, he went to Moscow and enrolled in the law faculty of Moscow University. In parallel with the study of jurisprudence, he studied painting at the Moscow Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1916-1918).
He actively collaborated with Ramp and Life, the Moscow theater magazine and the The Bat Cabaret. Under the pseudonym “Shaliko”, he systematically published friendly cartoons of his friends and acquaintances in the magazine.
As a student, while spending the summer holidays in Georgia, he took part in joint scientific expeditions organized by the newly-formed “Society of Georgian Artists ” founded by Dmitry Shevardnadze and the “Historical and Ethnographic Society” founded by Ekvtime Takaishvili. Together with Lado Gudiashvili, Mose Toidze, Giorgi Eristavi and Mikheil Chiaureli, he was involved in the project of making copies of the 15th century Nabakhtevi Church murals. After returning to his homeland, he was elected secretary of the “Georgian Society of Artists” (1918).
As a cartoonist, while still studying in Moscow, he began to collaborate with the Georgian Humor magazines Lakhti (Skippng Rope), Eshmakis Matrahi (the Devil’s Whip), as well as theater magazines: Theater and Life, Theater and Music and the Russian-language magazine Art – all published in Tbilisi. There he gave to the world his caricatures of artists, actors and writers. He also was an elected member of the editorial board and wrote reviews.
In 1918, he began working as a stage designer in the theater studio of George Djabadari, former director of the Antoine Theatre, who had just returned from France.
In 1919, the “Georgian Society of Artists” sent him to Paris to complete his art education.
Already in 1921, he exhibited his works in Paris: Licorne and Salon des Indépendants.
There is information that Kikodze on the recommendation of the director Vaso Kushitashvili, was commissioned to arrange theatre settings for L’Atelier which at that time was directed by Charles Deulin and Vaso Kushitashvili, and the other for the Odeon.
In August 1921, suffering from ruberculosis, Kikoze set from Paris for Freiburg where he died there at the age of 27. His resting place is unknown.