You’ve got to admit, there’s something fascinating about a guy wearing a mask. And if that guy happens to be an artist, all the better. Meet Georgia-born, Belgium based tattoo artist and mask maker, Shalva Nikvashvili.
Being a gay man in Georgia and taking to art at a young age, Nikvashvili felt he was out of time and place. “I have never fitted into the masses and never want to,” he admitted in an interview with FGUK Magazine. “My work has been and will be placed where I can be whoever I want to be. I feel safe and am the true me next to my boyfriend and in my work.”
“Every artist needs an audience,” he added. “My work really tries to speak for a better world, a world without racism, sexism, homophobia and where people will not be punished for who they are. We need to support each other and fight for our rights and never forget history.”
His masks might not be pleasant but they are unique, calling attention to the messy process of identity-making in the age of individualism. Take a look for yourself.