Mayya Kelova is a documentary and conceptual photographer from Turkmenistan, currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia. With a background in advocacy, particularly for women’s rights and minority rights, Mayya seeks to explore such topics as trauma, identity, and migration. 

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

Mayya graduated from Docdocdoc — the School of Modern 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, VII, Tirana Times, UN Women, The Puls, and Georgia Today. 

About. Mayya Kelova photographer

Awards & mentions

2021 | Selected participant at the Nikon-NOOR Academy 2021
2019 | VII workshop scholarship recipient 
2016 | NOOR-Nikon masterclass scholarship recipient  


2022 | Central Asian Museum of Feminist and Queer Art (MoFA+), Meykindik — Erkindik Exhibition,  Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
2022 | 139 Documentary Center, NeUyat Group Exhibition, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, project “forgiving” 
2022 | Open Art House, Pop-Up Group Exhibition, Tbilisi, Georgia
2018 | “Love. Captured” group exhibition,  British International Academy, Budapest, Hungary
2013 | “Hope for Cherry Blossom” solo show, American University in Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria.


2019 | Moving Worlds, United Kingdom, film “ANYAK
2018 | Researcher’s Night, Budapest, Hungary, film “ANYAK
2018 | Festival of Migrant Film, Slovenia, film “ANYAK
2018 | Art IN Academia, Budapest, Hungary, film “ANYAK

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


2019-2022 | School of Modern Photography Docdocdoc, 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