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Uta Bekaia and the queerness as the starting point of art.

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Uta Bekaia and the queerness as the starting point of art.

Jan.17 2023

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Art is much more than just a hobby for me. Art has been my faithful companion and my means of expressi

Georgian-born multimedia artist currently residing and working in between Brooklyn and Tbilisi. Uta Bekaia’s work is a speculative reimagination of his ancestral rituals restaged for Queer utopian future. With the fascination for traditional crafts, Bekaia creates richly adorned wearable sculptures, ceramics, tapestries, and objects, bringing them together as immersive installations, films, and live performances. Positive and vibrant despite all challenges he had to pass through, Uta Bekaia is sharing with us his vision of art and its role in the better world without borders and wars, the world we are to establish before it’s too late.

ng and processing my emotions and thoughts. I started painting when I was young, and art simultaneously became my salvation and refuge. My entire life characterized by shifts and changes, but painting has always been there.

I’ve never really stayed in one place for long. I don’t feel the need for a regular home. I feel at home when I am painting. That hasn’t changed over time.

And even though I haven’t made money from my art yet, I’ve been working as an Art Director to support myself.

Being an artist is a part of my DNA. I’ve been making a living as an Art Director, but now I’m focusing more on my own art and creative projects.

How and where did your creative journey start?

I think my creative journey is very much connected to my queerness.

I started creating imaginary sanctuaries to feel comfortable and safe from a young age.

These “worlds” were always colorful and extravagant, unlike the drab and dark reality I was living. In the extremely homophobic environment of my country, this was how I expressed my queerness, and it still is.

I was also always fascinated by the morbidness and beauty of the environment. I remember, in the countryside, I would watch how abandoned houses slowly became part of nature.  This was fascinating for me then and still inspires me now. The first word I ever said was “beautiful”: it was about lily flowers in my mother’s garden.

What does art represent to you? Do you perceive it as a medium to transfer your vision?

Art is the tool, the medium to converse with my surroundings and to interact with the world.

It is the most honest and pure way for me to express myself.

Through visual language, I can fully tell the story and create a world for others to experience.

Sometimes I feel like I’m the medium channeling the energy through me, and it’s the most exhilarating feeling.

It’s very hard for me to put words together, with my dyslexia, so visual language is how I can fully communicate.

I feel like art is a DNA fingerprint I will leave behind.

Our future as a civilization: how do you see it from creative point of view?

As species, we are unpredictable.

It’s hard to tell where our civilization will go, but here is what I wish for:

I wish to live in a world where there are no borders.

The world, where we understand that war is a crime, and has no justification.

Where the heroes are not murderers, but Wiseman, daring to travel beyond and bring back the knowledge to us.

I wish to live in a world where we understand that we are part of this planet and that we are respectful to mother Earth.

Where we don’t think only as greedy predators, with an endless need to fill the bottomless void within.

Where we take responsibility for our actions and find balance with the surrounding.

I wish to live in a world where there is no fear of the unknown, where ignorance is not a driving force, but love is. Where we fully understand and utilize our potential and find peace.

Where psychedelic medicine is not prohibited by men in power and where meditation is taught at school.

I want to live in a world where we, as species, understand that death is inevitable, and it’s part of the circulation, and nothing and everything belongs to us, as much as we belong to this flow.

The handcraft seem to be a very important element in your work together with the ancestral culture of your native country. How the traditions and modernity coexist in your art?

Handcuff is the base of my practice and  it is directly related to my ancestry.

Having spent a large part of my life in emigration, it was very important to find a connection to my roots through the traditional crafts of my country.

A large part of this in my work is process of finding and forming my identity, that is hybrid of my ancestral heritage and contemporary mediums.

The work process itself is also important. This practice is repetitive and meditative work, which is grounding and balancing

You say that the immersive installations are the most suitable form of communication for you. Why?

This is  related to my upbringing.

I grew up in a communist country, in a middle-class family. My parents were extraordinary people. They didn’t quite fit into the system, and they were dissidents.

For our safety,  my parents always tried to keep me and my siblings under the radar.

I was a very colorful person, It was at this time that I began to imagine my reality differently. This was a respond to the reality I was living,  kind of a security blanket. Immersive installation allows me to fully convey what I have to say and take the audience on a journey into the world I have created.

If I want to purchase your art-objeсt, what would I get? Will it be a physical object combined with a video projection?

Could be ceramic, soft sculpture, costume, painting, embroidery, video…

I have made mixed media works, and I would  still like to experiment even more. For example, the project “SUPERHUMANS” or the NFT project “BAJ BAJAS”.

It is very interesting to mix technology and traditional craft, I feel like this mix is an essence of my art practice.

As a queer-identifying person living half of your time in the Caucasus and half - in New York, what is the most challenging part of your artistic path so on?

Both places have their challenges and advantages. For example, in Georgia, we have to fight some form of homophobia every day, but because of this, involvement and contribution to our community is much more important, which in itself increases the sense of belonging and significance.

New York is a sea of information. This is a place where you can recharge and change your perspective, keeping updated with what’s happening in the world. And this is also a big challenge in New York, not to get lost in this whirlwind of information.

What are the projects that you are working on now?

I am working on several projects together. But the biggest one would probably be this: I have a huge archive of costumes that I’ve used in past performances, and I really want to do a costume retrospective exposition this year.

An exhibition where collection will be presented together. This show should take place in coming May of 2023, during  MB Fashion week Tbilisi.

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