Sometimes, a mask reveals more than it conceals. Such are Shalva Nikvashvili’s unique masks which explore questions of identity, in an age where authenticity is put to the test. Raised in a traditional Georgian family, Nikvashvili’s art is anything but traditional, channeling his creativity through unique materials he sources for his work.
“I was born after the Soviet Union collapsed,” he shared with Hunger Magazin. “It was a very hard time. I remember hunger, no electricity and very dark days, those days shaped my identity, it’s funny to say but I’m glad I have seen lots of struggles because it made me who I am now.”
Now based in Belgium, he pushes his art to the very limit. “After trying lots of different medias I discovered that making masks was something I have never tried before but I have been always interested in,” he explained. “I love the idea that when I delete my real face and put a mask on, the mask talks, not me. It gives me the confidence to say whatever I want and touch any topic I want.”
His tip to other striving artists? Ignore other people’s critique and work. “Work every day, believe in yourself no matter what others say,” he stressed. “Because others have their own problems unsolved, so don’t listen to anyone just keep believing and working on yourself.”