Pari Banu Asgar

Pari Banu Asgar, a transgender visual artist, performer, designer, and poetess, delves into the complexities of gender roles through her diverse artistic practices. With an Iranian heritage and a queer identity, she dismantles societal constructs by blurring the boundaries between masculinity and femininity in her work.

[ @an_wallflower ]

Banu's journey is one marked by resilience, personal exploration, and artistic expression amidst societal turmoil. Born and raised in Baku, Azerbaijan, Banu's life took a tumultuous turn when she began to express her gender identity. The conservative societal norms and family pressures made her journey challenging from the start.

Initially coming out as gay to her mother, Banu sought understanding and acceptance, only to find herself confined in a psychiatric hospital due to her family's inability to comprehend her feminine expression. Labeled as mentally ill due to her femininity Banu underwent a harrowing experience being locked up in a hospital for two weeks, surrounded by individuals with severe mental health conditions. After two years of medical examination, she was finally declared "normal" by medical standards, but the scars of societal rejection lingered.

Banu's family, in their second attempt to conform her to traditional gender roles, resorted to extreme measures, including pressuring her into military service. Coerced into signing documents under false pretenses, Banu found herself committed to military duty without her consent. As the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia escalated, Banu's mental and physical health struggles allowed her to escape conscription. Though released temporarily due to her health, the war ended before her time was up. However, the volatile political situation leaves her uncertain about her future if she ever goes back to her homeland.

Despite familial pressure to conform, Banu embarked on a journey of self-acceptance, supported by therapy and personal exploration. Coming out to friends, she experimented with clothing and expressions that felt authentic, leading to her losing her job as an English teacher due to parental concerns that she would be a bad influence on children. Encountering a traumatic incident with her father further propelled her decision to leave her country.

Before relocating to Tbilisi, Banu used the limited freedom she had at home to explore her gender identity through photography. Sharing her journey on Instagram gained attention from Azerbaijan's arts community, where she became known as a queer artist. Despite the conservative environment, one of her photographs was exhibited in a prestigious YARAT contemporary art center, though her artist talk on gender and queerness was censored. Facing rejection from local exhibition spaces due to the provocative nature of her work, Banu turned to online exhibitions and international showcases to continue challenging societal norms through her art.

Her relocation to Tbilisi, which was enabled by the Program Artist at Risk Tbilisi, hosted and curated by untitle tbilisi, offered newfound opportunities for artistic exploration, where she participated in projects and performances that pushed boundaries and challenged perceptions. During her time in Tbilisi, Banu engaged in various art projects, including a performance curated by The performance was inspired by Georgian and Azerbaijani wedding traditions, particularly the practice of checking a bride's virginity. In the performance, Banu lay on a carpet, masturbating in front of a mirror, challenging and intimidating the viewers who could observe her through a hole, while forcing them to confront their discomfort.

Now, based in Spain since 2023, Banu embarks on a new chapter in her journey as an artist. Drawing inspiration from her personal experiences as an immigrant transgender woman with a Muslim background, Banu conceptualizes a project that aims to portray the complexities of her identity through a poetic and artistic lens.

This project, influenced by historical narratives and literary works, seeks to challenge traditional gender roles and representations, highlighting the fluidity and transcendence of identity. Through her art, Banu continues to explore themes of sexuality, identity, and societal norms, leaving a lasting impact on audiences while advocating for empathy, acceptance, and support for transgender individuals.

Banu's journey serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of art to transcend societal barriers. Despite the challenges she has faced, Banu remains steadfast in her pursuit of self-expression and authenticity, inspiring others to embrace their identities authentically, regardless of societal expectations.

List of Pari Banu Asgar's Artworks:

• "I Might Be Staring at Infinity (or the Backs of My Eyelids)" - Featured in the first virtual art exhibition at ARTIM Project Space organized by YARAT Contemporary Art Space in Baku, Azerbaijan (2020).

• "Queer x Azerbaijan - My Body, My Identity, My Heritage" - Participation in the inaugural Queer Art Festival organized by Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance in Baku, Azerbaijan (2021).

• "Queer Chronicles" - Contribution to the virtual art exhibition at Queering Common Space organized by POLIGONAL Office for Urban Communication in Berlin, Germany (2021).

• "Faces" - Featured artwork at Fungus Gallery exhibition organized by FUNGUS in Tbilisi, Georgia (2021).

• "Queer Runaways" - Exhibition at Not Human Art Week in Germany organized by Not Human Collective and YUGEN Collective Art in Aachen, Germany (2022). Virgin Seed. Video Art ( collaboration with Salomeya Bauer). Untitled Gallery. Tbilisi. 2022.

• In a Bed with a Narcissistic Bride. Performance. Stamba Hotel. Tbilisi. Organized by Propaganda Network. 2022

• Roost. Video art. Untitled Gallery. Tbilisi. 2022.

• Birds. Performance. FUNGUS Gallery. Tbilisi. Organized by Girls Wave. 2023.

• Queer Deities in Migration - Performance featured at Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona. Pavilion Cross Occupancies (2024)

Photos / Videos Credit to the photo/video - Dato Koridze



"Queer Deities in Migration" is an innovative art project spearheaded by a dynamic Georgian artist duo. Their primary objective is to delve into the narratives of seven queer individuals who have been compelled to relocate from the South Caucasus region due to the challenges stemming from their sexual orientation or gender identity. The project seeks to establish connections between these individuals' personal journeys and the characteristics of seven corresponding deities.

The process of the project unfolds through a series of carefully crafted performances, wherein specially designed hero costumes, makeup, and masks are employed to symbolize the historical narratives of the queer migrants. These performances are intended to be staged in the cities where the queer individuals are currently situated, depicting the migrants' struggles as they navigate the complexities of being uprooted from their cultural contexts and endeavor to integrate into new environments.

Documentation of both the public and staged performances, captured through photography and videography, will culminate in a final exhibition. This exhibition will offer an interactive experience for spectators, who will be invited to contribute their own offerings and gifts to the deity of their choice, thus facilitating a visually evolving display.

Moreover, the project will result in the publication of research findings, personal stories, and the artists' works, providing a comprehensive reflection on the final exhibition/show. The overarching concept of "Queer Deities in Migration" revolves around the exploration of forgotten queer deities, who were once integral to the cultural fabric but have since been marginalized and relegated to obscurity. Through the intersection of performance, personal narratives, and ancient mythology, the project endeavors to highlight the resilience and transformation of queer migrants. Yet, amidst their struggles, queer deities exude an inner brilliance—a luminosity that speaks to their inherent divinity. It is this essence that the project seeks to uncover and celebrate, advocating for the restoration of queer deities to their rightful positions within the society.

By hosting the project in various cities across Europe, the artists aim to underscore the transformative power of art in uniting and empowering queer individuals from the South Caucasus in exile. Through their creative endeavors, they seek to challenge societal norms and envision a future where queer deities are celebrated and revered alongside us. Ultimately, "Queer Deities in Migration" is more than just an art initiative; it's a call to reflect on the role of cultural memory in contemporary struggles and to embrace the diversity and resilience of queer communities worldwide.

support organizations - untitled tbilisi, cynetart



We are the Gods,
We have always existed, defying attempts to erase our divinity.
Now is the moment when our visibility matters.
We demand to be seen, for our existence is a radiant inspiration to
our sisters and brothers on Earth.
Once revered as deities in ancient times, we were cruelly
suppressed by patriarchal fear.
But now, we reclaim our rightful place in consciousness, resurging
with an unwavering spirit.
Let us create a safe space, where queer deities shape our
narrative, transcending the confines of gender perception and
embracing the vastness of sexuality.
We defy the societal structures that have imposed binary thinking
upon us, remnants of an unfair world inebriated by toxic masculinity.
Together, we shall tap into the divine wisdom that flows through us,
granting us unparalleled insight.
Liberation beckons us forward, urging us to dismantle the chains of fear.



Creator Uta Bekaia is a Georgian-born multimedia artist currently based in Brooklyn and Tbilisi. His artistic practice revolves around the speculative recreation of ancestral rituals, reimagined for a Queer utopian future. Drawing inspiration from traditional crafts, Bekaia creates elaborate wearable sculptures, ceramics, tapestries, and objects, which are assembled into immersive installations, films, and live performances.

Bekaia pursued his education in Industrial Design at Tbilisi Mtsire Academy. Throughout his career, he has received prestigious residencies at ART OMI, Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in New York, and Garikula in Georgia. His works have been exhibited at notable venues including the Window Project in Tbilisi, SchauFenster in Berlin, Museum of Modern Art in Tbilisi, Biennial in Istanbul and Kyiv, ERTI Gallery in Tbilisi, Silk Museum in Tbilisi, The Lodge Gallery in New York, Marisa Newman project in New York and the Center for Contemporary Art in Batumi, among others.

In addition to his exhibitions, Bekaia has organized parades for various events, such as the Tbilisi City Hall Tbilisoba Festival, Book Capital of the World Opening Ceremony at world expo Dubai, festivals at TurnPark, and ArtPark New York. Notably, he is a founding member of Fungus, a queer creative collective based in Tbilisi.
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Co-Creator Dato Koridze is a Tbilisi based artist. He is the author of a number of projects talking about social inequality, minority rights or communities' approach to different suppressive topics. He is also a winner of many international festivals. Dato Koridze’s photo projects appeared in different world’s influential publishings. For now he is a part of the team of Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty’s Tbilisi office. He continues working on his personal projects.
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Curator of the project, Giorgi Rodionov, is an artist and curator born in Tbilisi, Georgia, and currently based in Berlin. With a multidisciplinary approach to artistic expression, he does performance, photography, participative art, drawings, podcasts, 3D art, art books, and storytelling. Giorgi’s practice delves into themes of identity struggles, migration, queer issues, and the evolution of new forms of existence.

Giorgi's art is deeply rooted in personal experiences. His main focus remains on the South Caucasus region, which he sees as a symbolic crossroad of diversity. In 2019, Giorgi founded untitled tbilisi, an art space dedicated to promoting collaboration among artists and art activists from the South Caucasus region. The mission of the space is creating a platform where art serves as a catalyst for meaningful discussions on queer issues, ethnic minorities, and the complexities of belonging in the region.

Through his artistic works and curatorial initiatives, Giorgi Rodionov continues to push boundaries, challenge societal norms, and amplify marginalized voices.

In early 2019, Giorgi established an art space Untitled Tbilisi, that aims to bring artists from the South Caucasus together to use art as one of the main tools for promoting human rights and social justice in the region.

He is also the member of »90x collective« that unites four artists from Georgia rethinking about the changes Georgia went through and still is going through after the collapse of the Soviet Union. [ ]







Barcelona pavilion - inauguration

The inaugural performance of "Queer Deities in Migration" took place in Barcelona on February 17th 2024 at the iconic Barcelona Pavilion, curated by Giorgi Rodionov and featuring artists Uta Bekaia and Dato Koridze. The event, in collaboration with cynetart and untitled.tbilisi, aimed to transcend boundaries by weaving together queer narratives, ancient deities, and contemporary struggles faced by displaced artists.

At the heart of the performance was Azerbaijani artist Pari Banu Asgar, embodying the essence of a goddess within the Pavilion's space. Against the backdrop of Mies van der Rohe's and Lilly Reich’s architectural masterpiece, Banu's ritualistic performance invited attendees on a journey through personal memories, cultural heritage, and the impact of contemporary structures.

The event not only celebrated the intersectionality of queer identity but also highlighted the historical parallel of migration, echoing Mies van der Rohe's own immigration to the United States during a tumultuous period.

The performance was part of the Project Pavilion Cross-Occupancies. Six groups of creators from diverse backgrounds temporarily transformed the Pavilion’s unique space into a living entity in the contemporary cultural landscape. Through the contributions of each particular vision, they created a microcosm that reflected broader conversations about the human experience within the natural world. The Event has included the institutions across Europe: The Fundació Mies van der Rohe, APSS Institute, Barleti University, Tbilisi Architecture Biennial, Berlin Coopera, Pavilion of Culture Kyiv, Trans-Media-Akademie Hellerau, and Lisbon Architecture Triennial.

Pavilion Cross-Occupancies itself is a part of New Cross-National Temporality Project, which aims to strengthen architectural culture across the continent by documenting, researching, and valuing common temporary spaces, questioning notions of permanence and stability associated with the spatial dimension of architecture.

The first Performance of “ Queer Deities in Migration '' marked the beginning of a broader project spanning across Europe. Through the transformative power of art, it seeks to unite and empower queer individuals from south Caucasus while prompting reflection on the role of cultural memory in contemporary struggles. As the project continues to unfold in different cities, it stands as a testament to the resilience of queer migrants and the importance of embracing diversity in all its forms.

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Fundraising event - Berlin

Date: April 20th, 2024
Time: Starting at 7:00 PM
Location: Tipsy Bear, Eberswalder Straße 2, 10437 Berlin

Dear Friends,
We are thrilled to extend a special invitation to you for a night of celebration, entertainment, and meaningful connection at our upcoming fundraising event for the project "Queer Deities in Migration."

About the Project:
"Queer Deities in Migration" is an innovative art project led by a dynamic duo of Georgian artists, Uta Bekaia and Dato Koridze. Curated by Giorgi Rodionov in collaboration with Cynetart and Untitled.tbilisi, this project sheds light on the journeys of queer individuals relocated from the South Caucasus mainly due to challenges related to their sexual orientation or gender identity. These narratives are interwoven with ancient mythology, exploring forgotten queer deities and their resilience in the face of adversity. For further information about the Project, please visit our website.

Event Highlights:

Performance by Aurah Jf: Join us for a captivating drag performance by Aurah Jf, a genderbending artist, social worker, and queer activist from Berlin with Azerbaijani roots. Aurah Jf is one of our queer Deities, and their story will be showcased in our next performance.

Showcase by Seven Queer Performers curated by Aurah Jf: Experience a blend of drag performances beyond the binary, comedy, and music by seven queer performers from the South Caucasus region, each sharing their unique stories and talents.

Live Music by Nini Nutsubidze: Enjoy the soulful tunes of Nini Nutsubidze, a talented Georgian artist, as she takes the stage.

Event Details:
• 8:00 PM: Show Begins
• 10:00 PM: Continue the celebration into the night with beats by DJ Citizen Union

• Entrance Fee: 10 euros

Throughout the Evening: Art for Sale

During the event, you'll have the opportunity to purchase photo prints by Dato Koridze from our first performance at the Barcelona Pavilion. These prints, capturing Pari Banu Asgar, offer a glimpse into the powerful narratives explored in the “Queer Deities in Migration” project.

Join us for an evening filled with entertainment, enlightenment, and the opportunity to support a vital cause. Your presence and contribution will help us continue our mission of empowering queer artists in migration and celebrating their resilience.



instagram: @queer.deities