The Calvert Journal: "Fungus: the queer Georgian art collective destroying toxic social norms"

  • The Fungus collective was formed as a single-display project but has since snowballed into a platform for long-term works. Photo: Levan Maisuradze for Tbilisi Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week/via The Calvert Journal.

Review by Tornike Khomeriki

Art & Culture Editor, 12 Feb 2021, Tbilisi,Georgia

A newly formed art collective in Georgia is raising questions of social marginalisation faced by the LGBTQ+ community in the country through experimental and uncompromising work, a new piece by Portia Kentish tells The Calvert Journal readers.

In her article, Kentish introduces Fungus, a group of 20 artists formed to counteract conservatism and homophobia directed at young queer citizens of Georgia, born from an idea of a single exhibition and snowballed into a fully-fledged collective with ongoing work.

Launched by artists Uta Bekaia, David Apakidze, Mariko Chanturia, K.O.I, and Levan Mindiashvili, Fungus is seen by the founders as an opportunity to bring safe spaces created by underground clubs of Tbilisi to a "more accessible artistic environment", the piece explains.

Using their Instagram page to publish works exploring issues of both personal questions and social surroundings, members of the collective also detail their own experiences in writing, and through their own social media channels.

Even though the ever-present threat of backlash from intolerant segments of their society is well understood by the artists, their big-picture view is put in words by Bekaia, who told Kentish: "We know that what we are doing is something that has to be done, and it should happen at some point, so why not now?"

Read the full story here.