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“TVALI” – The space between Art and Activism

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

Amuka Koridze

Remember the "Reclaiming Civic Space" project? Some of its participants have organized an exhibition, named “TVALI” about the violation of human rights and shrinking civic space, which was held for the last part of the project. As the goal of this long-term international project was to promote youth civic space through youth work and human rights education, the exhibition itself aimed to raise awareness about human rights, such as: the violation of women’s rights, queer rights, domestic violence, and identity issues in the context of Georgia.

“TVALI” (translates to an “eye” in Georgian) was a follow-up project of the "Reclaiming Civic Space" and was created as a result of a 3-day workshop, organized by the participants: Tekla Tevdorashvili, Tako Ghvinjilia, Amuka Koridze, and Miko Sakhdinarian under the representation of local feminist multimedia platform “GrlzWave”. During the process, there have been 15 youth-representing participants, and 9 out of them created an art piece.

The workshop about “Artivism” took place in Tbilisi, Georgia in October at the “House of Reconnextion”. It is worth mentioning that for most of the artists who took part in the workshop, “TVALI'' was their debut exhibition. For some, it was a chance to have a platform to speak about the issues which were the dearest to their hearts, but for others, it was a great opportunity to take the first steps within the fields of human rights and activism.

Marita Mikelashvili’s and Ane Khubaeva’s installation is about women’s safety in the everyday environment. For them it’s important to speak up about these topics “because most girls around us get anxious or scared when they go out late, or when they just go out alone. We don’t feel safe and we need to talk about it. It must be changed”, - says Ane.

“Unfortunately, feeling unsafe in the streets is a part of our everyday life. The only thing that makes it easier is sharing experiences and thoughts with others. When I know that this is the thing that most women relate to, I feel less “paranoid” and the sense of community gives me the strength to feel safer. That’s why it’s important to always discuss this issue and ensure others that they aren’t alone in all of this”, - says Marita Mikelashvili, one of the artists from the exhibition.

With her artwork, Patricia Gogelia’s main goal was to create an installation to vividly express the mental state of queer people after coming out, especially in Georgian society. As she says the art piece is based on and inspired by her own experiences.

“I wanted to show how lonely and isolated queer people become without the support from people, especially from our families. As a queer artist, I wanted to bring my point of view on the problems that the LGBTQ+ community has nowadays, so I created the "Family" which represents the isolation of queer people from society and the way they get treated as if they don’t belong anywhere”, - mentioned Patricia.

If you would ask the participants what have they gained from the overall experience, they would answer - the knowledge, support, and will of action. For them, it was a chance of raising and then stating the problem without feeling unsafe to be misunderstood.

“It was very interesting that a group of artists worked on the same topic, and each of them chose a unique way to show their ideas. It was not only about making art but discussing real-life social issues with people who had gathered from different backgrounds”, - says Ane. “We also gained the opportunity to meet interesting people, do gripping exercises, discuss lots of topics with them, and most importantly - participate in the exhibition. I have to also mention that during the project, we studied more about arranging exhibitions and got more experience in it”, - Marita added.

It is noteworthy that the project is organized by Human Rights Education Youth Network with the financial support of the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.

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