// Nika (Da Miane) is from Tbilisi, Georgia. His interest in the visual arts began in childhood. Nika is also a story teller, and so his work is both visually compelling and provides thoughtful content. His series “Metamorphosis” alludes to blind faith in a power, in a leader, and about turning away from that.
Nika began studying literature at university, a choice that helped him greatly to expand his imagination. “I took photography seriously when I became exhausted by my everyday routine and started wandering around Tbilisi´s streets (seems accidentally, doesn’t it?),” he confesses.
Nika´s artist name is actually Da Miane, and we wanted to know where that came from. He told us it is derived from a short story he wrote some years ago, where one protagonist, a girl, was called “I”, and the other, a boy, was called Mian. “Me and Miana,” he adds. “Because in Georgian, I means yes. And if you write together “Yadamians” – it means to be humane. I liked the sound of this word. Then I came across the name Damiane: Iran, which is an ancient Italian name that translates as “calm”. So that´s the story.”
For Nika, photography is not a way to capture reality, it is a way to show his emotions about the reality in which he lives. Colour, for him, is the most important component of art, it can be used to convey emotions, because they are something like a universal language that everyone knows, regardless of nationality. “My emotions become the emotions of the viewer, and this is achieved precisely by colour. Black and white photography also has colour. You will say that black is a tone, but I will say that it is just a gradation of colour. And all colours are gradations, there are no boundaries between them. You can’t tell exactly where orange ends and red begins. So are emotions. Emotions are gradations.”
“Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed.”
What draws you to art?
“Art is a universal language that connects people not only with each other, but also helps to find their own self and feelings.”
What do you like best about this photographic project?
“For me, photography is not a way to capture reality, it’s a way to show my emotions about the reality in which I live. First there was emotion, then there were words. If words do not have emotions, then you can not speak. In photography, emotions are primarily created by colour. Each photo says something, colours are emotions that are very important.“
When we discovered Nika´s photographic project “Metamorphosis”, it immediately struck a chord, given current events. Nika talks about what inspired him to create this conceptual photo project:
“The idea came to my mind when I had seen a huge unfinished building in Tbilisi where construction works were abandoned. I associated the building with our past and thought that in those days they started building our nation without a definite and long-term plan and then they abandoned us. That’s why I decided to take this series of photographs. I chose the room in the building for my intention to express what blind belief can do. It’s easy for faith to change its real face and transform into blindness and idolatry. The best example of this is the history of the Soviet Union where faith in God was substituted by faith in the Leader, Stalin in that case. But after the collapse of the Union we know that the faith in the Leader took back the faith in God. And still it was not the end of the story. The faith in God at last metamorphosed into the faith in Russia, and the double-headed eagle is a representation of it.”
This train of thought then led Nika to create a story concept. This series is about, as he puts it, a process of metamorphosis, from faith – blind faith – blind faith in a leader – fear of blind faith in the leader – leaving the blind faith in the leader – staying alone and turning back – turning back blind faith – blind faith in the government leader – metamorphosis.
Blind faith is always dangerous, and we can only hope for a metamorphosis of minds that have been blinded.
Click on the photos to see a larger version.