CULTURE
Georgian Alphabet Brought to Life through Art
30 December, 2017
The Georgian alphabet has captured interest on a global scale over recent decades due to its ancient history and the beauty of its refined shapes. The fact that all three writing systems of the Georgian alphabet have been recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO serves as yet more proof of that.
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Shota Saganelidze

Contemporary Georgian artist Shota Saganelidze decided to take the Georgian
writing system to a new level and transform it into artwork. He has experimented with all writing styles of the Georgian language, from the earliest to the current, and integrated them into various forms of art.
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Portrait of Georgian Queen Tamar carved in bracelet

As the artist noted, he first came up with the idea of making art using Georgian letters when he created a logo for his music band Khidi in 1998. The musician, with a background in architecture, gradually started creating portraits of his friends, followed by the paintings of distinguished Georgian figures and eventually found a new attribute to the Georgian script.
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Portrait of Georgian Queen Tamar carved in ring

By creating calligraphy portraits of prominent people like great Georgian writer Shota Rustaveli, Queen Tamar, King David the Builder, actress Sopiko Chiaureli and film director Sergei Parajanov, he breathed new life into Georgian letters, presenting them in a creative and unusual way.
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Portrait of famous Georgian actress Sopiko Chiaureli

“I create portraits of historical and important persons who walked a path through their deeds, and I perceive them using only Georgian letters. Apart from the artworks on the canvas, I have transferred my works onto various kinds of textile, jewelry and even household items and furniture,” the artist explained.
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Inspired by progressive Georgian artist Petre Otskheli

His jewelry, in particular bracelets and rings with portraits of Queen Tamar and Sopiko Chiaureli engraved on them, have attracted massive interest since before that, there were no such handmade accessories available on the Georgian market.

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Portrait of Sergei Parajanov, famous film director and artist

Now the artist is experimenting on ceramic and wants to develop his art in this particular direction. “I use Georgian ceramic and combine it with glass to get a rare type of porcelain with various patterns and decorations. I discovered the technology of creating a fresco effect that adds an antique note to my artworks.

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Portrait of outstanding Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli

Additionally, I’m in the process of making installations and producing 3D artworks through shaping Georgian letters from clay. The next stage will be creating a mobile application through which anyone will be able to create his/her or someone else’s portrait using Georgian letters,” Shota said, noting that the working process is underway to integrate his art into high tech.
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Inspired by Pirosmani's Black Lion

“At the Frankfurt Book Fair 2018, where Georgia will be the Guest of Honor , as part of the event, my artwork will be presented and will end up at the international calligraphy museum of Frankfurt,” the artist said, also revealing that at the beginning of February he will hold a personal exhibition in Tbilisi.
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Ceramic artwork

“Currently, I’m actively preparing for the exhibition and am creating artworks on giant silk canvas. Since this year marks the anniversary of prominent and progressive Georgian theater painter Petre Otskheli, as part of my artworks, I have created my version of Otskheli through Georgian letters that I will put on display alongside my other paintings,” Saganelidze noted.
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Portrait of famous Georgian actress Sopiko Chiaureli

Apart from creating art, Shota is also a musician and composer, in which he is equally successful.

Author: Lika Chigladze

Source: Georgia Today
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