Mayya Kelova is a conceptual artist working with photography and moving image. She is from Turkmenistan and is based in Tbilisi, Georgia. She seeks to explore such topics as trauma, identity, and migration. She 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.

Mayya’s works have been featured in L'Œil de la Photographie MagazineDer GreifNovaya Gazeta, FK MagazineNowhere Diary, ArtDoc Photography Magazine, VII Academy,  Broad Magazine, and others. Her films have been showcased on such festivals as Moving Worlds in the UK (2019) and Festival of Migrant Film in Slovenia (2018) and photography work exhibited at MOFA+ in Kyrgyzstan (2022) and 139 Documentary Center in Uzbekistan (2022) among others. In 2024, she has been nominated for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass and in 2023 received a grant from the Centre de la Photographie Genève.

Education

2019-22       Docdocdoc, School of Modern Photography, Saint Petersburg, RU
2016-17       Central European University, MA Legal Studies, Budapest, HU 
2008-13       American University in Bulgaria, BA Journalism, BU

Workshops and Art Residencies 

2023       Centre de la Photographie Genève, six-months mentorship, CH    
2023       Black Sea Poti Art House Residency, Poti, GE    
2021       Nikon-NOOR Academy with Sanne De Wilde, Pep Bonet, and Jon Lowenstein    
2019       VII agency workshop with Sara Terry, Linda Bournane, Nichole Sobecki, Sarajevo, BA   
2016       Nikon-NOOR Academy with Benedicte Kurzen, Sebastian Liste, and Yuri Kozyrev, Almaty, KZ  

Exhibitions and Screenings

2024       Belvedere 21 Museum, group screening, project Something borrowed, something redVienna, AT
2024       Unseen Perspectives, group exhibition, project Something borrowed, something redVienna, AT
2024       Far from Home, group exhibition, Tbilisi, GE, project Stories we did not tell, secrets we did not share
2024       Pop-Up Group Exhibition, Tbilisi, GE, project Stories we did not tell, secrets we did not share
2024       JETIQARAQSHY, UK, KZ, KG, TJ, group screening, Something borrowed, something red
2023       Black Sea Photo Festival, group exhibition, Poti, GE 
2023       Capri Festival, group exhibition, Capri, IT, project Something borrowed, something red
2023       A.C.T. Civic Engagement group exhibition, Tbilisi, GE film #OccupyKossuth 
2022       MoFA+, Meykindik — Erkindik Exhibition, group exhibition, Bishkek, KG
2022       139 Documentary Center, NeUyat Group Exhibition, Tashkent, UZ, project “forgiving
2022       Open Art House, Pop-Up Group Exhibition, Tbilisi, GE
2019       Moving Worlds, UK (various cities), film “ANYAK
2018       “Love. Captured” group exhibition, Budapest, HU
2018       Researcher’s Night, Budapest, HU, film “ANYAK
2018       Festival of Migrant Film, SI, film “ANYAK
2018       Art IN Academia, Budapest, HU, film “ANYAK
2013       “Hope for Cherry Blossom” exhibition, AUBG, Blagoevrgrad, BG

Awards and Recognitions

2024       Athens Photo Festival 2024, shortlist, GR
2024       World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass Nominee, Amsterdam, NL
2023       Photography Festival in Capri — XV edition, Winner, Single Image Category, IT
2023       Helsinki Photo Festival, shortlist, FI
2023       Centre de la Photographie Genève, grant & mentorship, CH 
2021       Nikon-NOOR Academy, selected participant
2019       VII workshop, scholarship recipient, BA
2016       NOOR-Nikon masterclass, scholarship recipient, KZ

Artist Talks and Other Initiatives

2024       Artist Talk, Festival for Human, Tbilisi, GE
2024       Mediation, Pop-UP Group Exhibition, Tbilisi, GE
2022       Author’s excursions, art mediations at the NeUyat Group Exhibition, Tashkent, UZ
2021       Guest Speaker, “Women in Various Fields, ” open dialogue by the EU Delegation to Turkmenistan
2020       Storytelling through documentary photography, online seminar, TM
2020       Artist talk, University of Central Asia, KG
2019       Speaker: Creating Multimedia Content for Positive Social Change, World Learning Alumni TIES, Almaty, KZ

Publications

2024       Der Greif, Guest Room selection, project Forgiving    
2023       Sola Journal, interview
2023       95MAG, project review, Something borrowed, something red 
2023       Broad Magazine, publication of the project Forgiving
2023       Your Local Newsstand, interview 
2023       ArtDoc Photography Magazine, publication of the project Forgiving 
2023       L'Œil de la Photographie Magazine, publication of the project Forgiving
2023       FK Magazine, publication of the project Forgiving
2023       Nowhere Diary, publication of the project Forgiving
2020       VII Academy, Amplifying Student Voices, Photographing Life in Times of Pandemic
2016       Novaya GazetaThe Last Emperors, group publication
2016       The PULS, publication of the project Power of Dedication