Tuesday - Sunday, 11:00 - 23:00 / Entrance via Milk, Marnixstraat 409
Please note: this event has already taken place
Piet Oosterbeek sketches a twofold story about young people in Tbilisi, Georgia and examines how we interpret images from a Western perspective. By looking at others and observing their lives, we reflect on ourselves and the context in which we live. Oosterbeek photographed young people dressed in everyday street style in their urban environment. Pink hair, a man with an earring, tattoos, a woman with a nose ring; the images are reminiscent of a typical Western European street scene. These young people are part of a counterculture in Tbilisi, Georgia. In this former Soviet state, the Orthodox Church continues to hold authority over society.
Atheism and homosexuality are not accepted by the conservative majority. Deviating from the norm is disapproved of, and not everyone has the freedom to express themselves and their identity. The concrete buildings captured in Oosterbeek’s photographs have become a prison for the progressive youth, kept in place by the outdated ideas of the masses. The dilapidated flats seem foreign to the Western observer, but to the people of Georgia, they are a daily reality.
The appearance of these Tbilisi youths is an act of resistance against the church and the prevailing conservative norms and values in their country. These small gestures, such as dyed hair and piercings, lead to intense daily confrontations, insults and violence. To escape from this harsh reality, they seek refuge in clubs, where inclusivity is valued above all else. They turn to nightlife to experience total freedom, without outside pressure or judgement. To rave in Georgia is a political statement.
Oosterbeek placed these young people, rejected by Georgian society, in front of the camera, to give them a voice. As opposed to the depictions of Tbilisi by photographers, tourists and fashion week, the stories shared in Everything OK not OK reveal the dark side of the country. Portrayed against everyday Georgian landscapes, in their living environment and standing among monuments, the youths photographed show what they stand for – fighting for their identity and dreaming of a place where they can truly be themselves.
This project is supported by the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts).
50 YEARS MELKWEG
In 2020 the Melkweg exists 50 years and organizes various programs throughout the year to celebrate this. Melkweg Expo reflects a whole year in group and solo exhibitions about themes that are important for the Melkweg or its history. This expo highlights the importance of freedom of identity. A fundamental right that Melkweg wants to facilitate by being a place where all subcultures, groups and young people looking for their identity are welcome.
Melkweg Expo is an exhibition space for contemporary photography and a platform for young artists, located in the heart of Amsterdam. While our main focus lays on photography that explores identity, our society or pop culture in in the broadest sense, we occasionally welcome other forms of visual art as well.