all the news of Tbilisi photo festival

13 Sep 2020

I_Residency: Projects created by female artists duos during isolation


"Where did the fireflies disappear?"


Photographs: Daro Sulakauri 
Text: Mari Bekauri

Daro Sulakauri 

"I was dreaming"

When I first went outside in the midst of a pandemic, I realized how surreal the outside world  has become to me. People with masks in public transportation, empty streets, I was feeling  chaos and confusion. Waiting for the life that I once had to come back. I would never imagine  the closest person to our family would pass away during the time of lockdown. It seemed as if  my childhood strongest memories died with her. It was not possible to have a proper funeral
amidst the Covid-19 crisis. We were the only ones at the cemetery, people with masks; My parents, my aunt and the gravediggers.

The deadly virus brought sorrow of death. It was hard to express what I felt, a new emotion, different from what I felt before. It was like a strange dream, inevitable to dream. Life was changing, the world was changing, thousand of people dying and thousand beating the beast. I wonder how my son will remember this time? I was thinking about the future and waiting for the life that once was to come back, creating a
diary to help me cope with my anxiety.


Public transport work resumed. Tomorrow will take subway and shoot many people wearing facemasks. By the end of the week will shoot you too.

Full project available on the link 

Mari Bekauri

Letters Written in Time of Pandemic, with the Words Unsaid Until Now

Locked at our homes during the pandemic, we decided to write only sincere words: Daro – the dairy and impressions of the various days, and I – the letters, where I would tell the people precious for me the things I’ve never dared to say before.

To Mother 

I wake from narcosis and see you. You sit on the chair – not with calm, but with silent face, and I know that it’s a different thing, mother, because there are words-not-said behind the silence sometimes.

Outside feels like apocalyptic movie – people wearing face-masks, keeping distance from each other, using disinfectant solutions, to protect themselves from the virus that brought about thousands of deaths, curfew and global existential crisis.

It’s unusual: like nothing’s changed for me. Maybe that’s due to the fact that I already have an experience of being destroyed, washed down, or I don’t know what would be the proper name for the condition, when you’re somewhere between being and not being, and when you just remember that you exist…

We depart from the hospital. Waiting for the car, I stand on the sidewalk and try to perceive the surroundings. There is a distanced queue in front of the market. Masked faces look out of the bus. Though, one can read in their eyes not fear, but rather an acceptance.

I watch the building on my way home and I realize that what I see, will soon disappear from my consciousness, just like the effect of narcosis.

Concrete city. The ground buried under asphalt and human beings that turn into the potential threat, carrying the burden – grocery bags – with rubber-gloved hands, and carrying along the invisible burden:

“Walk slow on the stairs,” – you tell me, when we get out of the car, and I laugh, because the both of us are already carrying our own burden, and despite this, you always warn me and let me go ahead, to watch my steps. And make sure:

Your kid will be safe.


                                                                                                                    © Daro Sulakauri

To Cortazar


One of these days I took the scissors and cut my hear to suppress the feeling of helplessness, and then I thought that maybe it’s falsehood, when a man tries to express only joy and never speaks out the words, which deplete in him, that rot and when he, if he’s lucky enough, is able only to say them through his characters, telling the stories of the others. Do you remember, what Charlie ‘Bird’ told you after reading your book? That these are the beautiful words written for people, and they do not say anything about garbage bins this half-mad man – probably the greatest saxophonist of twentieth century – sees in an attempt of capturing some truth…

So, I started thinking about this, Bruno. That, it is possible, I also write beautiful short stories for people and say nothing about ghetto, in which I grew up; about violence; and about the fact that my perceptions are formed from the consciousness that has been passed to me from my mammoth-hunting ancestors, that would accumulate and grow for millennia, that would keep orgies of Alexander the Great and cry of Attila before the battle; and crusades, which actually were an organised mass slaughter in the name of Christ in the Middle East; and the military jets flying in the sky of Dresden hidden by the history; and that through this millennial experience I can see night city, with drunkards following the ghosts and transsexuals standing next to the circus and high youth trying to buy the illusion of freedom this way and to forget non-existence of god and loneliness – not admitted by anyone – through sex…

So, I admit, Bruno:

I have cut my hair short because sometimes our own silence seems deafeningly noisy to us and we are applying simple, banal actions to rid ourselves from this sound. To create another illusion, where there will be no space for chaos. Were there will be no space for past. Neither for sadness. Neither for the garbage bins.


To My Khevsur Granny

There is a moment in the evenings, when the universe undergoes changes, transforms.

The best place to capture such moment was in mountains, sitting beside you on the bench in front of our house. Both of us would look into the skies and it was impossible for both of us to break the silence.

One day, you opened the old wardrobe, took out the dress you’ve been keeping so eagerly, combed your hair, went to bed, closed your eyes and died.

This is the most impressive death I’ve ever seen. The most silent and powerful, and this happened 7 years ago.

I still have a habit of:

Sitting for hours on one chair and looking at one spot like a drug addict and thinking about, for instance, Mexican people, their brutality and that such brutality is fed by the blood of poor. Fed by the rejection of civilization, genetic demand for chaos and maybe this is their attempt to combat the regularity of the universe; against the order that during the centuries has been staged as a show with the view of suppressing the strive towards Thanatos in human beings, and here are the Mexicans – Thanatos that is directed not towards the self-destruction (as it is common in the civilized nations, who have a habits of falling out of the higher floors like butterflies or hanging on the tree branches like a swings), but is aiming outwards; and it is aiming outwards, because they did not accept the development of the universe, did not let anybody to impose the moral laws and ‘do not kill’ over their heads, and maybe this resembles the decision to remain in the epoch of Cain sacrificing Abel; but, probably, Mexicans did not even think that they were making some decision and it happened spontaneously, when they looked at hungry wives and children and hungry mothers, who might even be singing the Mexican ballads to muffle the embarrassing noises caused by the hunger…

I hope:

One day I will become so united with the universe that I will guess – its time:

To put on the dress, comb my hair, go to the bed and close my eyes.

To the Man I Loved

One of these days, somebody said – when the story of two human beings comes to an end, they, probably, regret the years lost on each other.

I did not say anything but was extremely surprised.

Later I was thinking:

Probably because that they often mistake love for feeding their egos, or they try to capture some illusions that will save us from ourselves and loneliness. Save us from death.

I remembered:

When our ways parted (and this happened so that the great silence fell between us, not allowing exchanging even a single word with each other), for months I was suffering from unexpected outages of my consciousness. Terrible feeling that you’re in trouble. (And this is neither pompousness nor illusion, because love is beyond time and space.)

I would immediately get out of bed, bend down on my knees and ask Jesus to protect me. Probably, it’s exactly then, when I’ve learnt what it means:

To love your enemy.

Because, when we let this fierce silence to fall, we became the enemies to each other.

And in this belligerence, I’ve learnt the main secret of the existence:

The only truth is love, which we, as humans, can perceive in its true form only when we dare to look into our own eyes. When we are strong enough to look into our personal hell, after which everything we do to escape from the given form of existence will seem ridiculous to us; every combat – of man or of mankind – will turn into show, because the love is the only weapon that can win any battle, and it can win because it can have a compassion, a compassion to the blind, who cannot look at himself.

So, how?

How can I regret something that my soul experienced in the form of you?



                                                                      © Daro Sulakauri

To Daro

You know, when they banned cars, it was the first time I’ve heard the birds, and I would listen to them throughout the days that followed. And at nights, I would sit on the balcony and look up in the sky with eyes as wide open, as in the childhood. I thought: my god, how many years passed, since I’ve felt the nature. Because, it’s one thing – what you see, and it’s another – what you feel or perceive…

Then, once, I went out of town. I touched the water and said: “you are water”. I touched earth and said: “you are earth. Always remind yourself that from earth you come and to earth you will return…” And when I came back home, I suddenly thought that I’ve never seen the fireflies since my childhood. But this was the most magic thing in my childhood: chasing fireflies through the summer nights.

The most truthful, moment of real happiness – it seems.

I wonder: where did the fireflies go?