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In 2018, I was an artist-in-residence for Center of Contemporary Art (CCA) to produce a project for the Tbilisi Triennial in Tbilisi, Georgia. On my first weekend, I attended a party and later in the evening we decided to take a taxi to Club Cafe, a queer club. Approaching the city center in the taxi, we encountered a blocked road and a growing crowd, where I was separated from my friend and surrounded by masked policemen.

I live-streamed the police brutality as it happened, it felt reminiscent of my experience at Standing Rock protest camp in North Dakota, USA just a few years earlier. The police actions were shocking—moments of calm punctuated by sudden bursts of violence. The following day revealed a transformed Tbilisi, with ongoing protests stemming from the club raids. The atmosphere was tense, marked by a significant police presence and community divisions, particularly around LGBTQ rights highlighted during Family Purity Day protests led by Orthodox Christian groups.

Overwhelmed and disheartened, I considered leaving Tbilisi but instead took a train to the sea to regroup. As protests persisted, I realized these experiences would profoundly influence my artwork, shaping my understanding of civic energies and societal dynamics from the individual to the collective.

Throughout my first month, acts of protest became a recurring theme. Despite the challenges of navigating the city, I witnessed remarkable resilience and determination among those affected.

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