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PIET OOSTERBEEK - EVERYTHING OK NOT OK

Posted by Lee Stuart on

Opening on Friday January 10th is Everything OK Not OK, an exhibition by frequent Patta collaborator Piet Oosterbeek, at Melkweg Expo in Amsterdam. In Everything OK not OK, Piet Oosterbeek sketches a twofold story about young people in Tbilisi, Georgia and examines how we interpret images from a Western perspective. By looking at others and observing their lives, we reflect on ourselves and the context in which we live. For this series, Oosterbeek photographed young people dressed in everyday street style in their urban environment. Pink hair, a man with an earring, tattoos, a woman with a cigarette and a nose ring; the images are reminiscent of a typical Western European street scene.                                                                        

These young people are part of a counterculture in Tbilisi, Georgia. In this former Soviet state, the Orthodox Church continues to hold authority over society. Atheism and homosexuality are not accepted by the conservative majority. Deviating from the norm is disapproved of, and not everyone has the freedom to express themselves and their identity. The concrete buildings captured in Oosterbeek’s photographs have become a prison for the progressive youth, kept in place by the outdated ideas of the masses. The dilapidated flats seem foreign to the Western observer, but for the people of Georgia they are a daily reality. 
 
The appearance of these Tbilisi youths is an act of resistance – against the church and the prevailing conservative norms and values in their country. These small gestures, such as dyed hair and piercings, lead to intense daily confrontations, insults and violence. To escape from this harsh reality, they seek refuge in clubs, where inclusivity is valued above all else.  
 
Oosterbeek placed these young people, rejected by Georgian society, in front of the camera, to give them a voice. As opposed to the depictions of Tbilisi by photographers, tourists and fashion week, the stories shared in Everything OK not OK reveal another side to the country. Portrayed against everyday Georgian landscapes, in their living environment and standing among monuments, the youths photographed show what they stand for – fighting for their identity and dreaming of a place where they can truly be themselves.
 For sale on the night is a limited edition of the book " Everything OK Not OK" with exhibition images, outtakes and quotes by the subjects of the exhibition.  
  
 Everything OK Not OK is supported by AFK, find more info here
 
 Everything OK Not OK: Jan 11th - February 2nd 2020. 
 
 Melkweg Expo
Marnixstraat 409
Amsterdam