Mayya Kelova is a documentary and conceptual photographer from Turkmenistan, currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia. Mayya seeks to explore such topics as trauma, identity, and migration. 

Her photography work and film have been showcased in the UK, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Mayya graduated from Docdocdoc — the School of Contemporary Photography and has participated in international photography masterclasses, including Nikon-NOOR Academy and the VII Academy. In 2021, she became a member of Women Photograph.

She has collaborated as a writer and photographer with non-profit organizations and media outlets. Her works have been featured in Novaya Gazeta, FK MagazineNowhere DiaryVII Academy, L'Œil de la Photographie Magazine, Broad Magazine, UN Women, Georgia Today and others. 

Bio/CV. Mayya Kelova photographer

Awards & mentions


2021 | Nikon-NOOR Academy, selected participant
2019 | VII workshop, scholarship recipient 
2016 | NOOR-Nikon masterclass, scholarship recipient

Exhibitions & Screenings


  • JETIQARAQSHY film screenings, ARBAT FEST, Almaty, Kazakhstan project Something borrowed, something red
  • Capri Photography Festival, This is my land, Capri, Italy, project Something borrowed, something red
  • Black Sea Photo Festival, Poti, Georgia 
  • A.C.T. Civic Engagement Exhibition, Tbilisi, Georgia, film #OccupyKossuth 



  • Moving Worlds, United Kingdom, film “ANYAK


  • “Love. Captured” group exhibition, Budapest, Hungary
  • Researcher’s Night, Budapest, Hungary, film “ANYAK
  • Festival of Migrant Film, Slovenia, film “ANYAK
  • Art IN Academia, Budapest, Hungary, film “ANYAK


  • Hope for Cherry Blossom” solo show, American University in Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria 

Artist talks & other initiatives

2022 | Author’s excursions, art mediations at the NeUyat Group Exhibition, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
2021 | Guest Speaker, “Women in Various Fields, ” open dialogue by the EU Delegation to Turkmenistan
2020 | Storytelling through documentary photography, online seminar, Turkmenistan
2020 | Artist talk for journalism students, University of Central Asia
2019 | Speaker: Creating Multimedia Content for Positive Social Change, World Learning Alumni TIES, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Art-residencies and laboratories

2023| Black Sea Poti Art House, Poti, Georgia


2019-2022 | Docdocdoc, School of Contemporary Photography, Saint Petersburg, Russia
2016-2017 | Central European University, MA Human Rights, Budapest, Hungary 
2008-2013 | American University in Bulgaria, BA Journalism


2021 | Nikon-NOOR Academy with Sanne De Wilde, Pep Bonet, and Jon Lowenstein (online)
2019 | VII agency workshop with Sara Terry, Linda Bournane, Nichole Sobecki, Sarajevo BiH
2016 | Nikon-NOOR Academy with Benedicte Kurzen, Sebastian Liste, and Yuri Kozyrev, Almaty, Kazakhstan