Mila Teshaieva

From Questions to Images

Photographer and documentary filmmaker Mila Teshaieva participated in Forecast 8 as a mentor in the field From Questions to Images, and accompanied her nominees through the Forecast Forum in July, 2023. She has selected Mari Kalabegashvili as mentee, with whom she traveled to Beirut on a joint work-stay. Forecast sincerely thanks Teshaieva for her contribution to and engagement with Forecast Mentorships, and her dedication to her applicants and nominees. 



Mila Teshaieva is a Ukrainian artist, photographer, and filmmaker whose work is focused on constructed identities. Connecting public and private histories in interwoven visual storytelling, she seeks to understand and communicate the ways in which history is integral to shaping futures.

Teshaieva has exhibited extensively in institutions across Europe and the United States with solo shows, among others, at MIT Museum, Boston (2018); Museum of European Cultures, Berlin (2022 and 2018); Museum Kunst der Westküste, Alkersum (2016 and 2014); and Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee (2015). Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including at Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; Akademie der Künste, Berlin; Deutsche Börse, Frankfurt am Main; and Noorderlicht, Gronigen. She is the author of two monographs: Promising Waters (Kehrer Verlag, 2013) and InselWesen (Kehrer Verlag, 2016).

Mila Teshaieva, Only two of us left, 2016. Courtesy the MIT Museum.
Mila Teshaieva, Romantics of fights and forests, 2016. Courtesy the MIT Museum.
Mila Teshaieva, Pilgrimage, 2016. Courtesy the MIT Museum.

Since the first days of the full scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Mila Teshaieva has been in Kyiv and the surrounding region, photographing, filming, and writing on what she describes as “a defining moment of European history.” Her visual diary from Ukraine is on view through February 26, 2023 in the exhibition Fragments of Life at the Museum of European Cultures, Berlin and her first documentary film, When Spring Came to Bucha, premiered at the 35th IDFA in November 2022.

“I choose to be an artist as a natural way to express my curiosity. Curiosity about who we are—as personalities and as a part of society, about our belongings, our beliefs, our values,” she says. When engaging with a new project, she searches for various artistic tools and a distinct visual language to highlight the specific topic she is tackling. “However, my purpose is never to create images but to transform my questions, my thoughts, into compelling visual narratives. And hopefully to generate some critical thinking by those who see it.”

Mila Teshaieva, House of Kadjar. Baku, 2011.
Mila Teshaieva, Untitled, 2021.

“My personal history informs and shapes my artistic work,” she adds. “I am a self-taught artist; all my knowledge comes from ongoing self-education. I continue this process of learning by trying, practicing, failing. This is not an easy path, but it’s a rewarding one.” As a mentor, Teshaieva seeks to collaborate with artists who are working on projects that dig into public and private histories, question national identities and myths. She seeks applicants who are eager to visualize the fuzzy lines between history and memory, and who are burning to reflect those questions in their artistic work.

“I will be happy to read proposals written in a simple and honest way. While reading your text I want to feel your motivations, I need to understand why it is important for you personally to realize this project.”

Watch Mila Teshaieva’s video statement: