08/10 — 18/10 «TRANSMONGOLIAN» photo exhibition
19:00 / COM.NATA Loft, Obvodny kanal embarkment, 136
Álvaro Laiz, born in 1981, is an artist of a wide profile who works with photography, texts, sound, installations. His art is an exquisite mix of traditional culture, nature, and industrial development.
Álvaro’s works, from photos to grand video installations, are presented in public and private collections, such as the Museum of the Americas (Madrid) and INELCOM Fund supervised by Vicente Todolí. The works were also exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art of Val-de-Marne (MAC/VAL) in Paris, in the Museum of Contemporary Art of Castilla and León (MUSAC), and others. Among his clients are such editions as National Geographic, New York Times, Traveler, Forbes. Since 2017 Álvaro works as a researcher in National Geographic.
Everything began with «The Secret History of the Mongols», an ancient literary piece written in Mongolian. This text tells the story of young Temüjin who gained power and then became Genghis Khan, a great ruler of Asia. Hoping to increase the number of population and encounter the Chinese army led by the Song dynasty Genghis Khan proclaimed homosexuality illegal and set the death penalty for it.
As for today, after more than 800 years, Mongolia is a sovereign country with the world’s lowest level of population, less than two persons per square kilometer, where homosexuality is still prohibited. During the period when Mongolia was under the control of the USSR, gays, lesbians, and transsexuals were constantly sent to GULAG, they were repressed and persecuted. Human Rights Watch in their annual report about Mongolia tell about the appeals from persons who were public-ly attacked, denied access to shops and night clubs, those who were discriminated on the working place, and those imprisoned in special centers under control only because of their sexual orientation.
Transgender people are condemned to a secret life in their proper country. Some are being roped into prostitution, most of them are lonely. Young people strive to escape to the Philippines or Japan, where they would be treated with more hostility, and the dream of changing the gender marker would come to reality. There, above all, people get an opportunity to show their identity that is still denied in their motherland.
Álvaro Laiz has managed to capture this reality in an iconic photo project which is exhibited from the 9th to 18th of October during the Queerfest.