Art & Culture
A special issue with 11 stories on personal experiences of queer people from Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and South Caucasus.
Welcome to our third and last (for this year at least!) special issue, an exploration of queer art and culture across Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the South Caucasus. Within these pages, we invite you to journey alongside creatives who proudly embrace a queer perspective within their artistic practices, some of whom view their art as a powerful form of activism.
This issue underlines the importance of leisure places, community centers, and film festivals created for and by the queer community as told by organisers from Kazakhstan and Moldova. In Uzbekistan, where such spaces are seemingly impossible to establish, resilient activists have carved out a unique space for individuals to create and express themselves. In this issue, you will find a result of one of the workshops held in such a space. These captivating collages are crafted by queer individuals from Uzbekistan, some of whom have faced incarceration due to their sexual orientation.
“Art and Culture” contains interviews with writers, photographers, and visual artists from Kyrgyzstan, as well as a very personal account of how fashion plays a crucial part in a young person’s self-expression. In the issue, one could dive into literary scenes of Belarus and Moldova and appreciate sapphic erotic photography from Ukraine.
Central to this issue is the vibrant world of drag. We proudly present the Armenian drag scene through a captivating photo essay spanning generations of artists. A short documentary from Georgia invites you to go through the city’s bustling bazaars with two drag queens as your guides. Meanwhile, a documentary from Kazakhstan invites you to explore the lives and aspirations of drag kings and queens who bravely defy stigma, propelling drag art to new heights. Azerbaijani drag artists, hindered by the inability to openly perform in their homeland, still find ways to persevere in their beloved art form.
This issue is a love letter to people who are not afraid to be vulnerable in their artistic expressions. Despite financial challenges, state pressure, and opposition from hate groups, these individuals remain steadfastly creative and hopeful.
Support them by reading their stories, be inspired by their creativity, and if you can — invest in their art.
Saltanat, Vika and Pavel
Opinions expressed in the articles are solely the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Unit team. That said, any and all feedback is very welcome, reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the contact form.