Georgian artist Tengo Tamila Eminashvili is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brussels. They work across several different media, driven by the need to test and explore as many techniques as possible.
In Georgia, they employed performance and installation art as a queer activist. In 2019 he installed a closet in a very popular park in Tbilisi on the day of the fight against homophobia and transphobia, so people who entered could hear the stories and inspiring words by queer people. His drag performances were hosted at Club Bassian, Khidi, and Success Bar, Tbilisi’s first gay bar.
Once in Brussels, they started exploring different media such as painting, crochet and embroidery to research on ways to convey more personal and intimate feelings. They are currently working on a series of embroideries on x-ray films with which he makes physical and emotional pain – often invisible to most people – visually present.
Their painting work – both abstract and figurative – conveys the complexity of human mental and emotional life. The painting Hug (2022), for example, blends the borders between figuration and abstraction to depict a display of affection, a hug between two persons, and the desire of unity, to become one. It also speaks very concretely about the danger and fear of showing your real sexual identity in Georgia, where according to Tengo many people are forced or decide that it is easier and safer to ‘hide inside an heterosexual skin’.
Tengo’s next project is the realization of an audio-visual performance about queer love, taking as a starting point The Knight in the Panther’s Skin, an epic poem from Georgian medieval literature, and rereading it from a queer perspective.