Emotions. Feelings. Uzbekistan
Community art can encourage positive changes on an individual, community, and local level. It can bring awareness to the community’s issues nationally and internationally while offering new perspectives. Additionally, it is a secure method for at-risk communities to express themselves and experiment with creativity, even without particular abilities.
This small compilation comprises collages and sketches by LGBTQ+ individuals in Uzbekistan who responded to our invitation and submitted their artwork. Through those artworks, they expressed a variety of emotions and feelings. They also discussed what it feels like to not be able to openly express all of these emotions in their everyday life.
“Such open calls, no matter their nature, can be a breath of fresh air for those who have isolated themselves due to external stress. When you are melancholic and can’t come out, it’s difficult to make yourself seen. This way you can safely express your opinion and get adequate feedback. It’s wonderful when nobody judges you and expressing yourself like this is wonderful too”.
“I didn’t have the time or opportunity to be creative before. I was in prison. Now I began to draw and enjoyed it greatly, wanting to do it all the time, despite not drawing anything since finishing school. I couldn’t show how I felt at the time, so I only drew a lovely sunset at the top and unclear lines at the bottom. That’s what’s in my head now. I struggle with emotions, as I am prevented from openly displaying them. Especially love. In front of other people, you have to be a typical standard Uzbek guy”.
“I appreciate it when the queer community is given the opportunity to discuss not only safety and HIV/AIDS but also emotions and feelings, as these are significant too”.
“I portrayed despair in my collage. My own despair and the despondency of those surrounding me. Of people who live in my country and don’t have their own voice, who are compelled to perform tasks they do not wish to carry out, who execute actions at someone else’s orders that do not resonate with their inner selves. You move around empty, you feel empty…”
“This is the sea and I associate it with a sense of liberty. Fish just swim. They are free. The eye represents anxiety. I drew something I enjoy the most – freedom – and something that is always present with me and never fades – anxiety”.
“At first I wanted to call the picture I am / I exist. There’s a white canvas and coloured prints all around. After all, people also leave different prints on our clear ‘canvas of life’. The white spot in the middle is me or any of us. Sometimes you think, why does everything around have colour, and I don’t? But actually, we should remember that we are the ones who have the ability to shape our lives. We are like blank canvases, and it is up to us to add colour to them”.
“First I drew a spectrum of ‘pure’ emotions — pure anger, pure joy, and others. The colours mixed and created unpleasant shades – just like emotions mixing and producing something unclear and not always attractive”.