Artist and activist Mishiko Sulakauri’s practice focuses on engaging in deep dialogues with local communities. His research explores critical issues that transcend histories, borders, power dynamics, environmental and social struggles. His work questions systems of consumption, production, and human interaction recognizing our failure as a global society.

During his ArtsLink International Fellowship 2020 (virtual and in-person residencies), the central idea of Mishiko’s research project into both environmental and sociological issues was focused on the trans-border experience and how it affects different species – people, insects and plants. Mishiko, in collaboration with Unlisted Projects & CEC Arts Link engaged with artistic, scientific, and gardening communities in the construction of a wall near the South Texas border with Mexico.

Three projects were completed with this idea in mind during Mishiko’s stay.

Underwater Flows

Unlike the populist idea of isolationism, this wall’s purpose was to create a transitional oasis for the monarch butterflies, offering a regenerative habitat for their migration from Mexico to Canada. The wall-installation cradles milkweed plants, now an endangered species due to genetic modification of this poisonous yet decorative plant. The natural milkweed is the only source of nutrients for the monarch larvae. The installation went up in October 2021 in different locations in and around Austin. Each dotted location on the map was planted and seeded with native milkweed to create a system of support for migrating monarch butterflies, mitigating adverse effects of genetic modification of milkweed.

Station to Stations

An international artist residency and gallery housed within the destination sign of a former San Antonio city bus that now serves as a mobile performance platform. As the bus travels from place to place, or station to stations, the destination sign features text-based ideas from around the globe, transforming the bus into a moving network. During his residency the first season of programming exhibited 19 artists via a custom sign fabricated in collaboration with Mickey Delp of Delptronics. This program is now an ongoing residency at The Museum of Human Achievement.

Papa Joe’s Tex Mex

Mikshiko came a long way from Tbilisi, Georgia and tried Tex-Mex cuisine for the first time 2 weeks ago. It was love at first sight. The work you see here is a love letter to the conversations, and collaborations through food which percolate as a result of shifting boundaries. This work is based on this game of luck, life and new horizons. 

Free tacos, art and friendship were served at Papa Joe‘s Tex Mex (a local well-loved tex mex restaurant) on Friday Oct 29th.

this residency was presented in partnership with CEC Arts Link | @streetdefault