RIOT ART GALLERY: A curated selection of art for the next generation collector

Photography, Activism and Zagreb´s Drag scene - Ines Kotarac

InterviewsErika BelavyComment

We are pleased to feature the series of work entitled House of Flamingo by Ines Kotarac. Born Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ines grew up in Croatia, has lived in Berlin and is currently based in Istanbul.  She is a self-taught photographer whose work has become more and more socially and politically aware as her craft moves forward. Ines uses photography as a tool for promoting ideas that she finds important,  generally fighting against systems and borders, and spreading peace. She has held workshops about using photography in activism and expressing queer identity through photography.

What made you decide to become a photographer?

Actually, it was a process connected more to intuition, than to decision making. People were telling me that I have an eye for composition, for catching the right moment. Later, I went to photography classes to learn the technical side of taking photographs. But, the real explosion happened when I took an analogue camera in my hands. It was actually love from the first film. With it, I found the best and universal language to communicate with the world, to tell stories and to send some messages I find important.

Tell us more about the House of Flamingo series. What inspired it?

My close friends from Zagreb Ivan and Marino started up a drag festival called DRAGram two years ago, connecting not just drag queens, but lovers of drag and basically started up a drag scene there. It was great seeing one idea grow, seeing these beautiful talented ladies rise and shine. Can you imagine that some of them are just 17 years old? Drag queens are rarely seen in the day light, but that morning they performed at a fundraiser and in the break we went out on the cold fresh air. They were running around in those high heels, playing with each other and all I needed to do is to frame the moments.

What do you want to accomplish with your work? How are you doing this?

A Swiss psychologist and a philosopher Carl Gustave Jung wrote "If you are a gifted person, it doesn’t mean that you gained something. It means you have something to give back." That is exactly how I feel. It is my duty to continue making photographs and art, so basically I don't go anywhere without at least one camera in my bag. Everything in this life passes, sometimes too quickly. In 100 years I will be dead, people on my photos will be also gone, but my photographs, they will live. Those moments, atmospheres, stories and emotions will be saved from transience. 

 If you had a superpower, what would it be?

It would be nuclear love and a peace bomb that would make people more aware of other people, that would kill greed and egoism and spread empathy and compassion. I would like to throw a few of those on most of the governments on this planet, and specially on stupid borders that are killing innocent people every day.





B is for Body, Gray gallery, AKC Medika, Zagreb, Croatia

B is for Body, Gallery Garbas, Rijeka, Croatia


B is for Body, Art house Kriterion, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

B is for Body, Materra mesto, Novi Sad, Serbia

B is for Body, Art&bar Suzie Fu, Berlin, Germany


Berlin notes, Boonika, Zagreb, Croatia

Drops against oblivion, Cafe Pappelreihe, Berlin, Germany

Drops against oblivion, Cafe Lajka, Prague, Czech Republic

Drops against oblivion, Gallery of Erste club, Rijeka, Croatia

Drops against oblivion, No name Gallery, Split, Croatia

Drops against oblivion, AK Gallery, Koprivnica, Croatia

Drops against oblivion, Peace Flame House, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Drops against oblivion, Cafe gallery Frida Kahlo, Novi Sad, Serbia

Drops against oblivion, Mobile Gallery, Skopje, Macedonia

Drops against oblivion, The Fridge, Sofia, Bulgaria

Drops against oblivion, Closet Circuit, Istanbul, Turkey




My beautiful Trešnjevka, Modulor Gallery, Center for culture Trešnjevka, Zagreb, Croatia


Every tree stands and thinks, Gallery Galženica, Velika Gorica, Croatia

Drops against oblivion, as part of the festival Art an der Grenze, Frankfurt Oder, Germany

We.Never.Existed., together with artist Aino El Solh they made Hot second cold minute = Love, as part of the festival 48 Stunden Neukoelln, Mrs. Black House, Berlin, Germany

Drops against oblivion, as part of the festival Stapari International Arts Summer Fest, Stapari, Serbia